8th anniversary of Yazidi genocide: “They targeted women to annihilate the Yazidis”
On the eighth anniversary of the Yazidi Genocide, we spoke to Xanê Agal, a member of the Yazidi Women's Council, about the effects of the genocide on the Yazidis in Europe.
News Center- Eight years have passed since ISIS committed a genocide against the Yazidis on August 3, 2014. During the genocide, ISIS sold Yazidi women and girls in slave markets, raped and killed them and thousands of Yazidi men in the Kurdistan Region. ISIS committed the genocide after the Peshmerga forces withdrew from the region. During the genocide, 5,000 people were killed and other 10,000 were taken captive by ISIS. According to the Yazidi Rescue Office, 500 Yazidis were executed by firing squad.
Yazidi Genocide Remembrance day
The genocidal attacks carried out by ISIS against the Yazidi community affected the international community and in response, the United States began airstrikes against ISIS. The attacks of ISIS against the Yazidi community resulted in displacement of 500,000 Yazidis, killings and abduction of thousands. The genocide also affected the Yazidis living in European countries. In 2019, the Kurdistan Parliament in Iraq announced that the August 3 should be observed as the Yazidi Genocide Remembrance day.
UN recognizes the Yazidi Genocide
UN recognized the 2014 massacre of Yazidis started on August 3, 2014 by ISIS as a genocide. On the eighth anniversary of the Yazidi Genocide, we spoke to Xanê Agal, a member of the Yazidi Women's Council, about the effects of the genocide on the Yazidis in Europe.
“They watched the genocide as if they watched a film”
What has changed for the Yazidi women living in Europe since August 3, 2014?
The genocide that took place in Shengal greatly affected Yazidi women in Europe because everyone watched the genocide committed in Shengal on August 3, 2014 as if they watched a film, they saw what happened there. There is a big difference between seeing and hearing. The edicts carried out against the Yazidi community before the genocide were heard. But people saw the genocide committed against Yazidis on August 3. The latest genocide and massacre of Yazidis in Shengal shook the Yazidi women up. The Yazidi community suffered and still suffer from this genocide. The Yazidi women suffered more and still suffer from this genocide. During the genocide, the Yazidi women were first targeted because ISIS aimed to annihilate the Yazidi community. The genocide that took place in Shengal on August 3, 2014 continues to affect the Yazidi women living in Europe as if it took place only yesterday. In particular, it led to development of feelings such as the sense of protection, awakening and responsibility among Yazidi women. It also caused the Yazidi people to feel hatred and anger. This genocide turned the faces of all Yazidis, particularly Yazidi women, to Shengal. It also led to the awakening of the Yazidi youth.
“Protecting their identity is more difficult for the Yazidi born in Europe”
Living in Europe for the Yazidi community is very difficult. The generations born in Kurdistan grew up with their culture; they are able to protect themselves and stand by their devotion to their own religious beliefs and national values. However, the Yazidis, who were born and grew up in Europe, are stuck between two cultures and face serious challenges. They face not only serious challenges but also great risks. The capitalist and imperialist system has poisoned the youth with false living standards. Undoubtedly, there is a big difference between the young people, who have been involved in the struggle for freedom and those who have not. The self-aware people are able to protect their identity and culture.
Why is the recognition of the genocide important for the Yazidis? What kinds of activities do you carry out in Europe for the recognition of the genocide?
The Yazidi community has faced many massacres until now. But the people act as if nothing happened. Those responsible for these massacres have never been held accountable. These crimes against humanity have been covered up. It is very important for us to display the old and new crimes, and hold those who are responsible for these crimes accountable. The recognition of the genocide committed against us on August 3 is very important for us. The massacres were the project of the genocide. Some steps have been taken so far for the international recognition of the genocide, but they are still insufficient. We have been carrying out our activities for the international recognition of the genocide.
“The Europe neither supports nor opposes our struggle”
What challenges do the Yazidis living in Europe face? Do they protect their identity?
It is possible to answer this question as follows. If you protect yourself, someone will definitely help you. If you do not protect yourself, no one will help or recognize you or take you seriously. The grass is always greener on the other side. Europe has done whatever is good for its own interests. If we do not protect our future, we can achieve important results by putting pressure on the European countries. The European countries neither support nor oppose our struggle. They provide important opportunities for protecting cultures, identities and religious beliefs.