Thursday,19 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1210, (21 - 27 August 2014)
Thursday,19 October, 2017
Issue 1210, (21 - 27 August 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Save the Yazidis

Yazidi Princess Ouroba Bayazid Ismael Bek, an adviser to the governor of Nineveh, calls for humanitarian aid to save her people

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Since the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) launched its offensive in Iraq on 6 June this year, the suffering of innocent people has been without bounds. They have been displaced, murdered and robbed of their property and possessions. Places of worship and great mausoleums have not been spared.

The aim has been to seize the Nineveh Valley, end its religious and ethnic diversity, and make it the domain of a single group. Men acting for ISIS have taken people from the Shabak and Turkmen clans in Tal Afar prisoner, looted their homes and demolished their places of worship. They have expelled the Christians living in Mosul, after given them the choice between conversion, paying the jizya (poll tax on non-Muslims) or death.

The acts of genocide they have committed against the Yazidis are among the worst in modern history.

On 3 August, ISIS went into the town of Sinjar, then under the protection of Kurdish Peshmergas. Everyone fled, starting with the official in charge of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, abandoning the town, inhabited by a majority of Yazidis, to its fate. ISIS fighters slew the men and children before abducting the women, whom they removed to unknown destinations. It seems they are now selling Yazidi women as slaves.

At present, nine full days after ISIS went on the offensive, thousands of women are still stranded atop the Sinjar Mountain. They fled their homes in fear for their lives, faced by the brutality of this godless organisation that orders them to convert to Islam or be slain. They call us atheists, denying our status as People of the Book and sharing the same Abrahamic traditions.

Children, women, and old people are dying every day from the heat of the sun. Thirsty and hungry, they remain trapped on Mount Sinjar, sleeping in the open, exposed to the elements, with no water to drink or bread to eat.

My plea is for all international and humanitarian organisations to hasten to send humanitarian assistance to save these people. This is the 74th instance of genocide against the Yazidis, people who belong to the land they live on and were historically among the first to espouse monotheism.

My plea is for those who have hearts and a sense of moral obligation to take note of our ordeal and come to our rescue.

The selling of Yazidi women to men from Chechnya, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world is a crime against humanity, an unthinkable act in our times. It is a crime that no religion, creed or morality can condone.

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