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What happened to the Armenians is being repeated today with the Yazidis

by Farida Abbas

Farida Abbas during the ceremony at the Garden of the Righteous

Farida Abbas during the ceremony at the Garden of the Righteous

Following we report the remarks delivered by Farida Abbas, member of the humanitarian organization Yazda, during the ceremony of 14 March at the Garden of the Righteous of Milan. 

My name is Farida Abbas, a Yazidi genocide survivor and a member of the Yazda organization for the defense of the rights of Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities. I am honoured to join you today in this important event to unveil the plaques for the new four Righteous, and I would also like to thank the organizers of this important event.

One of the plaques that will be unveiled today is for a well-known Yazidi figure called Hammo Shero who led the campaign to protect Arminian and other Christians a longed with bout 10,000 other Yazidis in Mount Sinjar against attacks by the Ottoman army. At that time Yazidi stand with Armenian people, but now the time is different, what happened with the Armenians at that time, today is being repeated with Yazidi people in Sinjar, they have been targeted by ISIS in August 2014, civilians were displaced, many men have been killed, women, girls and children have been abducted, tortured, raped and used as sex slaves.

The historical role led by some exemplary figures promote us and make us strong to resist hard situations and stand beside oppressed peoples. I am one of around 6500 Yazidi women and girls who have been abducted, raped, sexually enslaved and sold in slavery markets by ISIS members, I suffered all these crimes when I was at ISIS captivity in Iraq and Syria, many times I attempt to commit suicide and didn’t succeed, at one time I cut my artery to get rid of torture and injustice but I dint succeed. After I managed to escape from their captivity, I decided to be a voice for the survivors, other abducts, all the victims of genocide and vulnerable minorities all over the world to prevent what me and my community suffered from happening to someone else.

Today I see what I am doing to recognize ISIS crimes, standing with women, children and minorities, as an extension of what Hammo Shero did about 100 years  ago when he decided to support Armenians and other Christians in Sinjar. At that time also other Yazidis supported Christians and helped them in building houses in Yazidi land, Christian churches and houses of worship.

There is a big difference between that historical period and today, the Armenians and many of the most vulnerable groups have gained their rights, sovereign, independent, but the Yazidis are still passing through miserable situations and are subjected to genocides. Although Hammo Shero defended the Armenians and Yazidi before 100 years, the Yazidis are still victims and subjected to mass killings and ethnic cleansing in their areas.

I call you to support Yazidi people, you all can provide Humanitarian support, and help victims to bring perpetrators to courts and achieve justice, also many of you can help Yazidi students with scholarships and many other fields.

I also ask Italian government and parliament to recognize Yazidi genocide and support the efforts of the Security Council to establish a team to investigate ISIS crimes. Moreover, I hope that Italy will play an active role regarding to reconstruction of Yazidi territories and other minorities in Iraq, as well as providing humanitarian assistance, and immigration and asylum issues.

Farida Abbas

Analysis by Farida Abbas

14 March 2018

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