Raising awareness of the 6th anniversary of the Yazidi Genocide.
In the early hours of August 3rd 2014 the genocide of the Yazidi began. Fighters from ISIS launched an attack on Yazidi villages around Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. Defenceless, those Yazidis who could fled to the upper slopes of the mountain where they were besieged and attempted to survive in the sweltering heat without food and water. Most were unable to escape ISIS and were captured: men and older boys were executed, women and girls abducted to be enslaved and face relentless sexual violence and younger boys were taken to be indoctrinated and turned into child soldier cannon fodder for their attackers. Thousands were killed and thousands more are still missing. Absent too is the justice that Yazidis deserve.
To try and raise awareness of the genocide we’ve put together two learning activities that we hope might be of use to teachers and students. In creating the activities we thought that it was important to allow young people to first understand who the Yazidi people were and what their religious traditions entailed. Although the Yazidi have been persecuted for centuries we thought thatit was vital that the rich and sophisticated culture that makes up Yazidi life was not overlooked – it is key to understand that the men, women and children who fell victim to their attackers were not simply put on the earth to become victims. Similarly, our second activity focuses on the experiences of survivors and seeks to see the events of 2014 and beyond from their point of view. We looked at the atrocities that the villagers of Kocho suffered and of two survivors, Layla and Bahar, in particular.
The activities are limited, of course, but we hope that they will be the first of many as more teachers and students join us in raising awareness of the genocide. The victims and survivors deserve no less.