Rebuilding Yazidi life after ISIS

It is important to raise our voices and speak to the international community so that people know that no one outside is helping us.

August 31, 2016 21:27
1 minute read.

Yazidi commander Qasim Shesho leads Yazidi and Peshmerga soldiers. (photo credit: VAGER SAADULLAH)

The Yazidi people have suffered more than 73 campaigns of genocide by Islamic extremists over the centuries. In addition, Saddam Hussein destroyed 134 Yazidi villages on Mount Sinjar in 1974.

It is a reminder that on August 3, 2014, in only a few hours the bloodsoaked Islamic State (ISIS), with its Wahhabi ideology, took over the city of Sinjar and most villages around it without resistance. We were all neglected. ISIS conjured up numerous ways to carry out their genocide, including burning, looting, starving people to death.

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Since November 2015, Sinjar has been liberated. It was liberated a year and three months after the genocide. However the number of displaced people remains at 360,000 Yazidis, and the number known to have been murdered is 1,293. 1,759 children no longer have a father, 407 have no mother and 359 lost both parents. Hundreds of children have been kidnapped by ISIS. The number of mass graves we have discovered so far is 30. Forty-four of our religious shrines were destroyed by the extremists and 6,404 people were kidnapped (3,538 women and 2,866 men). The number who escaped or returned is 2,640 (953 women and 328) men. This includes 675 girls and 684 boys. The number thought to be enslaved is 1,914 women and many men.

In Sinjar, which was destroyed by ISIS and during the war to liberate it, we have seen around 20 families return. Many liberated areas lack electricity and services.

It is important to raise our voices and speak to the international community so that people know that no one outside is helping us.

The world goes about its business without listening to the wishes of our people, without any attention to the large number of vulnerable victims here.

It is important to show that Yazidis are imperiled by the genocidal tendencies of extremists associated with Islamism and Arab nationalism. The West should see our peril and the importance of preserving diverse cultures like ours. It is essential also to heal the open wounds of women abused by ISIS.

The author is a Yazidi leader living in Sinjar.

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