Traumatised Yazidis Call for Help and Freedom for Captive Loved Ones

Yazidi demonstration, Sirnak refugee camp

Yazidi demonstration, Sirnak refugee camp

By Thomas Phillips:

On Saturday 4th April, the displaced Yazidis in Sirnak refugee camp held a demonstration calling for international protection and freedom for their kidnapped friends and family. About 100 women, men and children marched from the makeshift hospital to the makeshift school carrying placards and chanting “down, down ISIS”.

The demonstrators demanded freedom for Yazidi children, an end to sexual violence against women, and international recognition of the merciless genocide carried out by ISIS in August 2014.

As the demonstration reached the self-managed school, a line of Yazidi women formed and led the calls for freedom and dignity. After a few minutes of chanting, one of the young women collapsed in a fit of tears and had to be carried away to the privacy of a nearby tent. The rest of the women began to weep into their hands, clearly overwhelmed by the dark memories permanently engraved into their minds by ISIS thugs.

Adib – a young Yazidi girl who works six days per week nurturing the children and attempting to make their lives bearable – asked me to take a photograph of her posing with a young child in her arms. Moments later, she collapsed to the floor in an uncontrollable fit of despondency.

I asked Jalal, the local doctor, if the girls were going to be okay.

“They will be okay. About forty percent of the people in this camp have some kind of psychological condition. They see ISIS when they close their eyes and some of them cannot sleep, he replied.

It is impossible to measure the depth and extent of ISIS’ evil. Any attempt to express it through the English language is bound to tell only a partial story. These people have been inflicted with wounds that will suppurate for the rest of their existence, and many of them believe that their only hope of emancipation lies in Europe.

Despite ISIS’ best attempts to extirpate the Yazidi identity and culture from the face of the earth, it is clear that their sense of solidarity and determination has not waned. Despite their parlous situation, they continue to dream of a better life.

Thomas Phillips, a tutor of law at the University of Liverpool, UK, is currently volunteering at the Sirnak refugee camp in North Kurdistan

2 Responses to Traumatised Yazidis Call for Help and Freedom for Captive Loved Ones
  1. Amy L Beam
    April 5, 2015 | 04:20

    Thank you Thomas for being on-site to continue to tell the world about the Yazidis’ plea to rescue their kidnapped girls and women. Adib had 28 girls and women taken from her extended family. Her story is at:

  2. Paulette Harvey
    July 23, 2015 | 23:19

    I can not begin to comprehend the barbarism of daesh (IS) how can any sane individual carry out such evil here in the 21st century, since this exploded onto the world stage last August I have had a hard job trying to understand this apparent hatred that these jihadists have for all who do not follow their warped idiology I pray every night for the emancipation of these poor individuals held by this death cult. May they find peace.

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