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Who will help save the Yazidis

A Yazidi IDP camp in northern Iraq.


The author is a survivor of the Yazidi genocide. He is the author of Walking Alone. This article first appears in The Jerusalem Post.

As a Yazidi person living in America, I have to ask myself – and this country where more than 5,000 Yazidis live – why does the US do nothing to save the Yazidis? Why do the media pay more attention to the case of one ISIS bride who wants to come back to US, or the murder of Khashoggi, than they do to 50 Yazidi women who were recently beheaded by ISIS? Yazidis are a peaceful, pastorally oriented religious minority. We share many beliefs that are compatible with the West, and have suffered 74 genocidal attacks by Muslim extremists since their armies first invaded the Middle East.

My family and I belong to the Yazidis. As members of a persecuted minority, we have submitted our case against Islamic State for its genocide of us over the last four years. The whole world witnessed the atrocities of this criminal organization on August 3, 2014, but no one has provided us with ongoing protection and safety. So the genocide continues – horribly – on a level the human brain can hardly tolerate. 

A few days ago, the British Daily Mail newspaper reported that British forces (SAS) had found 50 heads belonging to Yazidi women who were beheaded by ISIS in their last stronghold in Baghuz, eastern Syria. The same newspaper also reported the story of a girl, Marwa Khadir, who was kidnapped during the ISIS attack on the city of Sinjar in Iraq in 2014. Marwa was only 10 years old when she was kidnapped. Her aunt, who was with her at the time, said when she last heard of Marwa, the young girl was pregnant.

The crimes that have happened and are still happening to Yazidis cannot be described. Yazidis who live in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Europe are part of a community, many of whom have family members in ISIS captivity as sex slaves. But it seems that the country that has adopted us does not value our existence, because it does nothing to help us free our people from ISIS captivity. Just because they don’t live there, it doesn’t mean they are not humans. 

Why do Western nations claim to be humane while we are among them, and yet show no humanity other than the individuals who help through NGOs and on a personal level? 

Hundreds of people from Western countries have joined ISIS, and participated in committing genocide against Yazidis and other minorities. Many countries, such as Turkey, Qatar and others, are publicly or secretly involved in creating, training and supplying ISIS terrorists.


THE QUESTION is, why does the West not help Yazidis?

Is it because we are a weak minority and have no role in the political process or the political game in the Middle East between the super powers and their allies?

Is it because many countries have had a hand in creating ISIS and refuse to be held accountable or to act more decisively and effectively to stop the crimes the terrorists committed against us?

We do not know the answer. But we have to ask these questions and fight for our people. Even if the day comes when we discover more crimes and who was behind them, no apology will return the honor and dignity of 7,000 Yazidi women and children who were used, and those who still are being used, as sex slaves by ISIS. The apology will do nothing for a child who has lost all members of his or her family. We understand that people will only apologize because we are a weak minority, and that we should accept the apology because we cannot hold anyone accountable. 

Time is of the essence. My people, Yazidis, need help now. They need the word to get out, in the hopes someone might come to their assistance to help locate the captives and free them before they, too, perish. More than 2,500 Yazidis – mostly women and children – who are still in ISIS captivity are in a perilous situation. They could be killed at any moment if no one moves to help rescue them.

The writer is a survivor of the Yazidi genocide and the author of Walking Alone. 

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