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Rudaw

World

Georgian Activists: World Must Protect Yezidis

7/8/2014
“We stand here, today, in front of the UN office in Tbilisi, to send a message to the world to stand with us. We are delivering a letter to UN Secretary-General (Ban Ki-moon) asking to make every effort to stop the persecution of Yezidis and Christians,” Mirzoev said. Photo by author
“We stand here, today, in front of the UN office in Tbilisi, to send a message to the world to stand with us. We are delivering a letter to UN Secretary-General (Ban Ki-moon) asking to make every effort to stop the persecution of Yezidis and Christians,” Mirzoev said. Photo by author

By Teimuraz Shamoian

TBILISI, Georgia — Yezidis, Christian and civic leaders in Georgia staged a protest on Wednesday calling on the United Nations and the international community to protect Yezidis from threats by Islamic extremists in Iraq.

The protest in front of the United Nations building in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, was organized by Yezidi community organizations but also drew many prominent figures including human rights defenders, lawyers, MPs and representatives from the Assyrian, Armenian Catholic, Armenian Apostolic and other Christian churches.

Yezidi leaders say upwards of 30,000 Yezidis from Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh province are facing life threatening conditions after they fled to nearby Shingal mountain, which is surrounded by the Islamic State (IS/formerly ISIS). At least 60 people, mostly children and the elderly, have already died of starvation and thirst.

IS seized the capital of Nineveh, Mosul, in June and have since taken Sinjar. They are trying to control resources such as Mosul’s massive dam and nearby oil fields, and are driving minority Christians and Yezidis out of the province.

Yezidis are ethnic Kurds who practice an ancient religious and are considered devil-worshipers by Islamic extremists.

An estimated 20,000 Yezidis live in Georgia, and the vast majority resides in the capital. Georgia is home to one of the largest Yezidi communities in the region.

Agit Mirzoev, executive director of the House of Yezidis, a community organization, called on the international community to act to help persecuted Christians and Yezidis, who have been stranded on a mountaintop.

“We stand here, today, in front of the UN office in Tbilisi, to send a message to the world to stand with us. We are delivering a letter to UN Secretary-General (Ban Ki-moon) asking to make every effort to stop the persecution of Yezidis and Christians,” Mirzoev said.

Yezidi cleric Dmitri Pirbari was one of several activists who compared the threats against Yezidis in Iraq to the persecution of Yezidis in the Ottoman Empire a century ago. He called on the government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Kurdish military, Peshmarga, to save Yezidis.

Around 10,000 Peshmarga are being deployed to Nineveh province to battle the extremists, who seized Mosul and other Sunni-dominated areas after the Iraqi army fled.

Community leader Kereme Anqosi called on Kurds and Yezidis around the world to advocate for Shingal.

“Today Shingal is washed in blood,” he said. “The followers of one of the oldest religions whose faith and traditions have survived through the 21st century could disappear.”

“I call on you as human beings to protect us. I call on you, politicians of democratic nations, to take action for us. I call on you, the Georgian government, to support Yezidis, because we always stand with Georgia,” he said.

Assyrian community leader David Adamov said as minority communities, Yezidis and Assyrians have been oppressed for centuries. Both communities came to Georgia 99 years ago, seeking refuge from Ottoman persecution.

“ISIS is repeating the genocide that was carried out a century ago. Now we as brothers stand together, because they are exterminating us today as well,” he said.

 

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simko | 7/8/2014
Not only ezidi kurds,but all other people like Assyrians, Turkmens..... That is genocide from outside to destroy the history and culture of Mesopotamia. For such powers like America or Russia it isn't important what happened. Just oil and weapon is important for these countries. But we won't forget our enemies.Never.
Havalo Lolawo | 7/8/2014
The world must protect the Kurds, but before that can happen, our people need to stand up and scream for international help instead of protesting for Palestinians. We must put our own house in order before trying to help others, others that's been against us and always will be.
Angela Nair | 7/8/2014
Why cant these people live in peace with others. Are they not supposed to be "brothers"? Stop blaming the West for this - its tribalism and a fight for power. This is subtle genocide. What will bring peace to these regions - and if they attain peace and Israel is annihilated? Will they live together or will they then be strong enough to take over the world - never forget, every non-muslim is an infidel.... What will make people sit down and understand that there is place for every race, creed and religion on this planet?
KPatriot | 7/8/2014
First of all, how the hell can IS be surrounding Shengal mountain still? Where is the Peshmerge and YPG? Second, why the hell did we let these guys get away with taking Mosul when half of Mosul is Kurdish? Now I say, please use 50,000 Peshmergas, joined by YPG and PKK forces, then march towards Mosul, take it, mark all Arabs, send them over to Anbar. Those who refuse, shoot on spot. We Kurds need to forget morals and ethics now, this is war, our people needs safety, we need to treat the enemies properly now. While Kurds are being slaughtered, their women taken as slaves and so on, Sunni Arabs are getting fat and enjoying life, mostly on stolen land from Kurds and others. Let's show these Sunni Arabs our patience has it's limits. Just start the brutality campaign against ISIS, Baathists and their Sunni Arab supporters. I am a Sunni Muslim, Al Hamdulillah, but for groups like ISIS and their supporters only the same brutality will work. I am a Sunni Muslim, but in this case I think Israel is the perfect example to follow. (except letting Arabs live among us, because in Israel millions of Arabs also live there, and I simply can not trust Arabs). Take over all cities which were originially Kurdish, clean them from Arabs, dead or alive, it's up to them, then let Kurds move in to these places, the Kurds in camps for example, give them the houses to live in, then make a buffer zone, make a wall or something, between us and these vampyres, then work to fortify this wall. Never let one Arab walk into Kurdistan again. Insha'Allah.
James | 7/8/2014
Ban ki Moon was condemning Israel daily. Not 1 comment from that two faced clown over this.
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