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Rudaw

World

California Kurds Condemn IS, Call for More Western Support

By Joshua Thaisen 13/8/2014
A protester at the LA demonstration. Photo by author.
A protester at the LA demonstration. Photo by author.

LOS ANGELES – American Kurds are publicly condemning the presence of Islamic State (IS/ISIS) forces in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan Region and pleading for more military support and humanitarian relief from the West.

In outrage at the IS treatment of Kurdish Yezidis, the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group (KHRAG) and the Kurdish Community of Southern California organized a joint demonstration of hundreds of people across Los Angeles and San Diego this week.

“Down, down ISIS! Long live Kurdistan!” chanted protestors in LA, gathered before the Federal Bureau of Consular Affairs.

KHRAG issued a statement expressing its own outrage.

“We call on the US government, the United Nations, all relief organizations and Western governments to organize expeditious and efficient emergency humanitarian assistance to Yezidis,” the statement said.

“It is our duty to defend and protect the Yezidis. We cannot let an ancient people and their cultural heritage and religion be vanquished by the dark forces of history,” it added.

The general consensus within the Californian Kurdish community is that IS is a terrorist organization, endorsed by Islamic nations surrounding Kurdistan.

“ISIS is a terrorist organization that is not just threatening Yezidis, Kurds, and Christians, but everybody in the region! They need to be stopped!” said Kurdish American Nyma Ardalan, who attended the LA protest.

IS fighters have reportedly kidnapped hundreds of Yezidi women in recent weeks. It is feared that many have been sexually abused, murdered and reduced to slavery.

“I’m incredibly concerned as a women, but not just because of the IS’s barbaric abuse and viewpoints toward the treatment of women,” said women’s rights activist Clara Moradian, who was also at the demonstration.

“In Nigeria when 250 young women were kidnapped the world was outraged, but I feel like the silence the world is showing towards the women that have been kidnapped now is incredibly disheartening. I want to bring awareness to their plight,” she added.

Many Kurds at the protest believed the United States has a duty toward the Kurdish people because many of the weapons that IS has stolen were supplied to the Iraqi military by the United States.

“A lot of the weapons in the hands of IS are US made,” Moradian noted. “I think the US is responsible and needs to intervene and make sure those weapons aren’t in the hands of terrorists. A lot of Americans don’t realize that they are implicated in this war, as US tax money is going toward destroying Kurdish land.”

Questions have been raised as to whether Peshmerga forces are independently up to the task of defending Kurdistan against the militants.

“Yes they can, but at what cost? They need more international support and arms,” said Ardalan.  “My problem is that the Kurds were prevented from getting any significant equipment to battle ISIS; the Iraqi government prevented Kurds form arming themselves.”

Kurdish women’s rights activist Soraya Fallah, who also attended the protest, said: “As a women who is very outspoken against genocide I am really concerned. If any genocides happen on earth I stand with them (the victims) because I’m pro-human rights and I believe we should all feel the same. I believe we should ask for help. We should be united inside Kurdistan. The international community should help us and hear our voice.”

Last week, KHRAG launched a petition addressed to the White House and the UN secretary General. It seeks 500 signatures to raise awareness of the humanitarian aid needed by Kurdish refugees and is half way to achieving its target.

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western christian suzy | 13/8/2014
When the last muslim in America denounces the concept of the infidel out of their q'uran I will pull my fingers out of my ears and listen to the plight of the Kurds. But for now, I'm worried about the longterm genocidic goal mentioned in their good book.
the Turkic | 13/8/2014
what I learned from current events is that Kurds stand together no matter what, irrespective of their religion and beliefs. Look at the situation with Yezidis, Kurds managed to engage the whole world to help them. while on the other hand there are Turkmens displaced from their homes and scattered in the dust and heat across Iraq and they outnumber the yezidis by far and yet no one cares. not turkey, not erbils or kerkuks turkmens, no one. i feel uncomfortable, to say the least, as a turkic myself, with the indifference..
Carlos Camacho | 13/8/2014
Kurds. Love and Respect for you.
aramgoran@hotmail.com | 13/8/2014
Are americay sagbab la kobo hata esta.Roje 3 bordoman lasar daeesh hechyan lenaka.Akabar sago sagbab joyanen baraste.Peyawe joyanen u joyan drostyan kerdwa( Hillary Clinton).
Kurdistan | 13/8/2014
@western Christian suzy....what these people are doing is not Islam and does not represent Muslims, so please gain knowledge by actually reading the book and all other books instead of allowing people to make your mind up for you. No one religious book says to kill innocent people but rather they are all the total opposite. only in self defense can you fight back otherwise what is happening and these people doing what they have in the name of Islam goes against Islam and they will pay for it when they meet their maker. if you're a Kurd please stop with all the religious attacking when we all know that WE the Kurds love one another regardless of faith, we support one another as Kurds and have a heart to give a helping hand. respect each other no matter what and focus on those causing the corruption and spreading hatred not those who have absolutely nothing to do with it. Problem of today is we should be learning from history but instead we let it repeat and GENERALIZE pointing fingers at everyone when we should know better. if you continue to be this way then you are no better than the ones causing such corruption and hate because you are doing exactly what they want and they achieve their mission through such people who turn to hate as well and allow the scums to make up the minds for them.... Love Peace and Blessing to Kurds and Kurdistan
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