Refugees from Shingal
Commentary by Hayri Demir, translated from EzidiPress German
One year ago, the terrorist militia Islamic State overran the major area of settlement of the Yezidi minority Shingal in northern Iraq. The caliphate´s henchmen crushed village by village, perpetrated one massacre after another against the helpless civilian population, piled up their victims´ bodies one above the other and abducted and enslaved thousands of defenseless women and girls. A crime that constitutes allmost all criteria of a genocide under the Geneva Convention. For the Yezidis, the Shingal region embodies their carotid of religion, culture, history as well as the Yezidi resistance. All Yezidis´ revolts and uprisings started out from there or came to their end.
The disaster of Shingal prompted the world to go to war against the IS and send weapons, advisors and military equipment to the crisis region. U.S. President Obama ordered airstrikes against the IS on August 8, 2014 to prevent an “imminent genocide” and liberate the Yezidis trapped in the mountains. The U.S. would not stand “idly by” and watch a minority threatened by the IS to be exterminated. And the airstrikes indeed rescued – despite all the political controversies from the so called anti-interventionist camp – over 60,000 Yezidis stranded on the mountains. The U.S. kept its word and did not stand idly by while U.S. critics such as Jurgen Todenhofer provided the IS with a platform to “unmask the propaganda behind”, as he later explained. As if the IS which even utters its own magazine ever tried to hide its ideology from the public.
Yezidi refugees seeking shelter in the Shingal Mountains
The genocide has engulfed the Yezidi community in a deep crisis, political divisions among Kurdish parties are in danger of being fought on the backs of the Yezidis in Shingal. Yet, not the political parties are to be blamed but Yezidis who agitate and sharpen the knives for them. Yezidi combat units belonging to different parties and independent ones have already begun to rattle their sabres, while more than half of the region remains under IS control. The Yezidi youth goes at each other´s throat on social media because neither its political nor religious and certainly nor its leading figures are able to provide a way out of the crisis. Once again, heroes from the very start developed into loyal party supporters who consider their party´s sensitivities as more important than the political future of Shingal.
But how could this development materialize? Why was the genocide not prevented by the Peshmerga who were supposed to be committed to it, why was the IS not stopped or at least hold back until the civilian population was able to get to safety? Even one year after the disaster, the cause that allowed this genocide to happen is either not being addressed or only brought to the agenda in a political battle. The term of betrayal is inflationary being used by Kurdish politics, but we are not speaking of a traditional dispute or a disagreement. We are speaking of a genocide that has claimed thousands of Yezidis´ lives and has brought slavery to thousands of women and children.