The tragedy in Shingal (Sinjar) is one that all Kurds can recall. For those who are unfamiliar with that event, it is really important to pay attention. With the jihadist attacks of ISIS on the Kurdish town of Shingal, thousands of Ezidi (Yazidi) Kurds were killed and displaced. Those who fled ISIS terrorists are scattered around in camps throughout Bashuri (South) Kurdistan in cites such as Erbil (Hawler), Slemani or Duhok. Although the journey was not pleasant, humanitarian organizations are trying their best to meet the needs of the families (shelter, food, medicine, etc). This being said, many Kurdish Yezidi’s have fled to neighbouring countries such as Syria and Turkey. As most fled the area to find refugee in nearby cities some were not unable and trapped on Sinjar Mountain. With no food or water people were struggling to survive.
So what caused this displacement of Kurds within the region?
In the last few months, the Islamic State (IS) forces attacked the Yezidi town killing hundreds of men, took women and sold them into sex slaves. Shingal is the town of Yezidi Kurds who are a distinct religious minority within the Kurdish region. With the arrival of IS forces, the town changed forever. For many days, families were trapped on Sinjar Mountain and awaited for assistance to arrive. The Yezidi Kurds have been subjects to oppression by colonial powers not only because of their identity like the rest of Kurdish people but also due to their religion.
The Islamic State (IS) forces’ main goal for the region is to destroy the Yezidi community and gain control of the area as it is close to the Arab cites in Iraq. The IS group is against everyone who refuses their faith or disagrees with their ideology; whoever dares to cross them will be harmed. As a result of this, Yezidi are considered non-believers because they do not follow the beliefs of this jihadist group. The will to create and establish an Islamic Caliphate under the rule of Sharia is IS’s main goal. Not only have Islamic State fighters participated in suicide bombings, they have also been using snipers to control the area.
The situation in Shingal was bound to change and indeed it did when Peshmerga were able to gain control of the areas and take back Mountain Sinjar from Daesh (IS fighters) and to help rescue those who were stuck on the mountain without food and essentials. It was clear that the Peshmerga were not going to allow this group to stay there and they were going to gain victory again. This was evident when Massoud Barzani, the leader of Bashuri Kurdistan (known to Western world as Iraqi Kurdistan) made it clear that the Peshmerga were going to continue to fight until the Kurdish territory was free from this terrorist group and that is what happened. The Peshmerga continued fighting with everything they had until they regained that region of Southern Kurdistan.
As I sit here writing this post I cannot help but think the struggle of not only the civilians but the Peshmerga and all other Kurdish fighters who were involved in freeing Shingal (Sinjar). It is here that I want to thank those forces and everyone who was involved in the journey of trying to save and assist my people in finding a way out. This fight against the Ezidi (Yazidi) Kurds was just another genocide of my people. As this topic deserves more coverage, I will be covering it in another article in which I will write about the number of genocides Kurds have faced from their oppressors and why I categorize the tragedy of Shingal and killings of Ezidi (Yazidi) Kurds as a genocide. For the purpose of this article, the main message that I am trying to express is that there was a struggle for the Ezidi (Yazidi) Kurds and the rebuilding of the community will be difficult and it will take time. In my opinion, there should be some sort of system set out by the Kurdish government and all humanitarian groups involved in the process of rebuilding. They should work with these displaced families who have gone through a tough time and need assistance in really trying to understand the situation at hand and the process of moving forward. Rebuilding is not just in the structure form. It starts with the individual. I believe that this is a good approach because these people have not only lost materialistic things but family members as well. Ultimately, their life savings among many other things have been affected greatly and more importantly some families have lost their “honour” in a sense due to having a female member captured and used as sex slaves by IS forces There are a lot of factors which contribute into the rebuilding of a community and it is important that those factors are attained to and worked on as a priority. In order for this to occur their needs to be a group of professional in a varies sections who can help each family in the rebuilding process. And for this to happen, the government needs to step and take more action in terms of aiding these broken families.
I know that this article does not due justice for what the community has faced but I truly feel it is important to mention and in my part contribute in getting the story across to people have not been aware of struggles faced by the Yezidi Kurds.