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Yezidis react angrily to film set during genocide

By Rudaw 9/9/2016
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DUHOK, Kurdistan Region—The opening film of the Duhok International Film Festival, which tells a love story set during the Islamic State seizure of Sinjar and genocide of the Yezidi people, was received angrily by some in the audience as it struck close to still open wounds.
 
The film, The Dark Wind, Reşeba in Kurdish, from director Hussein Hassan, tells the story of Reko and Pero. The couple became engaged shortly before ISIS attacks their village in Sinjar. Pero and many Yezidi girls and women are captured and sold as slaves. Reko is left behind, determined to find her.
 
In the trailer, Pero returns but Reko’s family has trouble accepting her, broken by the horrors she suffered.
 
Crowds flooded out of the screening, upset because they believe Pero was killed in the film.
 
"The Yazidis are not killing their daughters,” a young man shouted.
 
"It is not true…everything is a lie," another shouted among a crowd of protesters holding signs reading "Stop Reşeba.”
 
Even before the screening, some people protested the depiction of events in the film.
 
Commenting on the trailer of the film on YouTube, a commenter using the name faesal gyan, said, “The film says it is based on true events… at the last scene the father does not agree to the marriage of his son to the girl because she was released from the hands of Daesh and she was raped. We absolutely refuse this thing. It is not the tradition of the Yezidis. We call for deleting such scenes because it never happened.”
 
The director, Hussein Hassan, speaking to Rudaw after the screening, said the movie was made in cooperation with Yezidi religious leaders and the Lalish cultural centre. During his meetings with the Yezidi community leaders, he was asked to change how the treatment of Pero by her family and community was depicted in the film.
 
Dimen Zandi, the actor who plays Pero, confirmed to Rudaw that her character is not killed in the movie.
 
Ayub Ramazan, director of art and culture in Duhok province, told Rudaw that the audience did not wait until the end of the film to see the conclusion before leaving the theatre to protest.
 
A member of the Yezidi Lalish cultural centre told Rudaw, “The final scene that shows the father and her brothers treating her in such [a bad way] has never happened in reality. Every returning girl was welcomed with open arms and has been seen as halal [allowed in Yazidi religion].”
 
The Yezidi genocide, which began two years ago, is still going on. Thousands of Yezidi girls and women are still in ISIS captivity and the true magnitude of the crimes against the Yezidi community are still to be known as the girls and women are found, mass graves are located, and areas are liberated from ISIS control.
 
Yezidi leaders have said they will meet to discuss how to react to the film.
 
The film is billed as the first feature film about the Yezidi people.

 

 

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