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What Happened To The Yazidis Is A Shame On All Of Us

Al-Arab, UK, March 10

Cecilia Oden, a veteran Swedish journalist, has focused her media and research efforts on the Middle East, where she lives almost permanently, moving between many capitals and places there. It was a few days ago in Qamishli and the Hull camp, where she interviewed a wide host of Yazidi girls and women who were victims of a sadistic torture campaign at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS). Many of those Oden spoke with recounted their stories in painful details. One woman witnessed her father and husband slaughtered in front of her and her young children. She then began to recount the details of her journey of suffering with slavery and sexual exploitation, and the cruelty she was subjected to. Sadly, this is not the only story. There are hundreds of accounts just like this one. Based on her experience of the region’s cultures and beliefs, Cecilia highlighted the problematic nature of many Yazidis who are known for their attachment to their family and community. Many women have given birth to children during the period of enforced sexual slavery. Their return to their families and their children is therefore impossible. This is yet another tragedy added to their already great calamity. The Yezidi clergy understood the situation and welcomed the return of the Yazidi victims to their families, but without the children who, according to their religion, had a sinful relationship that could never be tolerated, with the explicit recognition that the Yazidi victims were not responsible. These stories once again call into attention the horrendous crimes perpetuated by the ISIS, not only physically but also psychological. It destroyed a legitimate Syrian revolution that sought to bring down a regime of tyranny and create a democratic and pluralistic state that guaranteed all Syrians—without exception—freedom, justice and a decent life. The tragedy of the Yazidis is painful. Its horrific details evoke all the anger and reveal the savage side of the human being who is stripped of all values, while hiding behind the veil of religion. The Yazidi community is a peaceful society by nature, devoted to the affairs of its daily life without interference in the affairs of others. Their suffering continues to unfold. It has not, and will not, end with the release of a limited number of their daughters or children. Their territory is still occupied by various militias. The Yazidis continue to live in the most difficult conditions, in camps that are not suitable for daily living. Most sadly, they are not taken into serious consideration by the international community. Nobody is fighting for their right to return to their homes and to pursue their normal life in a peaceful manner as they have always done. This is a shame on all of us. –Abdul Basit Sidama

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