Ever since the 3rd of August 2014 when forces of the Islamic State attacked the Yezidi people in their indigenous homeland of Ezidikhan thousands of their more than 500,000 people have been forced to seek shelter and protection away from the killing, rapes, enslavement and the destruction of their villages, farms, their peaceful agricultural communities. More than 4,000 men, women and children were murdered in August and more than 3,000 young women and children were captured and taken as sex slaves. What was the Islamic State’s motive for killing and destroying Yezidi people and their homes and way of life? The murderous rampage was justified by Islamic State followers of Wahhabism based in an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam incorrectly declaring the word “Yezidi” to mean “followers of Satan”. Indeed, the word “Yezidi” actually means “followers of God”.
An estimated 300,000 Yezidi or 60% of the resident population have been forced to become “internally displace people” (IDP). They are now occupying so-called IDP camps remote from their village sites and destroyed farms. While Yezidi had worked hard to ensure their ability to take care of themselves they have been forced into dependency.
Yezidi men, women, and their children desperately want to return to their life taking care of themselves after nearly four years in involuntary dependence on the outside world.
In the early part of the 20th Century Yezidi families had been forced to flee their homeland Ezidikhan (Sheikhan and Shingal) to many other locations including Georgia and Armenia. Then in the second half of that century they were forced to seek refuge in Western Europe (mainly Germany, and in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Scandinavian countries and smaller numbers in Australia, and in the United States). In the 21st Century the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein tried to force Yezidis out of their homeland by forcibly moving Arabic tribes into Yezidi lands displacing Yezidis and forcing them to move some of their southern and eastern villages north of their original places. When the American government started the war against Hussein in 2003 the Yezidis were again under attack not only by Hussein forces, but American bombs and military too. These attacks forced more Yezidis to seek refuge in Europe, Armenia, Turkey, Syria and Georgia leaving about half of the total original population of one million still in Ezidikhan. After decades of living as refugees distant from their homeland Yezidi and other Ezidikhan peoples want to go home.
Despite the American military presence in Iraq as well as remnants of the Islamic State the Yezidis persist as a closely-knit community. While recent threats of attacks on Yezidi’s territory continue to the present threats and actual violence to the very existence of the Yezidi people, they remain resolved to return as the original inhabitants of their land as had their forbearers.
The Yezidis have established their new government (denied them for centuries by occupying empires and states) in July 2017. They formed the Provisional Government of Ezidikhan (read the Proclamation here). Through their government led by Prime Minister Waheed Mandoo Hammo the Yezidi have launched the Rebuild Ezidikhan Fund Campaign to rebuild and organize the return of Yezidi and neighboring peoples to their homeland Ezidikhan, ‘the land of the Yezidi people’.
Prime Minister Mandoo’s government has twelve ministers with responsibility to administer the government and organize the “Rebuild and Return Program.” The campaign is being organized in Iraq and worldwide to raise funds for the Ezidikhan government to serve the Yezidi people by:
The Rebuild Ezidikhan Fund Campaign is also focused on supporting the return of Yezidis who sought refuge in other countries during all of the terrible times. More than 70,000 Yezidis and other Ezidikhan people want to return to Ezidikhan from Europe alone, but need help doing so while rebuilding efforts of the Ezidikhan government restores homes, roads, water, electricity, furniture, living quarters, and food, medicine and clothing.
Donate to the Yezidi Recovering Fund
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The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here