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Hammo Shero

The chief of Sindjar who defended the Armenians during genocide

At the time of the Genocide against the Armenians perpetrated by the government of the Young Turks between 1915 ad 1918, many Kurdish tribes took sides with the executioners making themselves responsible for the extermination, except for the little people of the Yazidis, proud mountain dwellers, defenders of their independence, who inhabited the Sindjār, a mountain chain of Nothern Iraq, which stands over the broad flat of Jazīra, between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. This has been the only place in the whole Ottoman Empire where the Armenian rescapés were hosted and protected.

Agha Hammo Shero, undisputed chief of Sindjār, was a Righteous, who welcomed and protected thousands Christian runaways, for a vast majority Armenian. He gave them lodging and fields, as well as the hope of a future. The fllow of refugees did never stop. Hammo Shero was a "patriarchal figure", with a long white beard, and he was used to passing through the camps of the Armenians who had taken refuge in his territory to console them. He had a network of informers who walked all along the outskirts of the mountain massif to learn about the unfolding of war and to rescue the Armenian survivors. When the Turkish kaimakam of Balad asked Hammo Shero to hand him over the runaways, the agha replied it would be a shame to hand over a mountain guest, because guests are sacred. In 1918, when an Ottoman army corps tried to destroy this place of rebels, Hammo Shero called the sheiks and attacked the Ottomans who left  Sindjār. The Armenians have not forgotten the good they received.

Over the Twentieth centyr, Armenia has sheltered the Yazidis victims of repeated persecutions in Turkey and Iraq, rejected both by the Sunnis and by the Shiites because, as they did not belong to the peoples of book to whom Islam concedes the statue of dimmi (submitted minority that pays the tributes), they are "dehumanized" and thus doomed to extermination. Improperly called as "devil worshippers", as a matter of facts the bringers of a sincretic religion with elements of paganity, Zoroastrism, Judaism, Nestorianism and Sufism. Mostly employed in agriculture and breeding, they speak the kurmanji, a Kurdish dialect, have a national movement, the Union of Yazidis of Armenia; they print their own newspaper, Yazdi Khana,they have a public radio station and schools where their language, which uses cyrillic and latin characters, is taught. The Yazidi who dwell regularly in Armenia are nearly 40,000 and are an accepted and integrated minority.

Following  the tragic events of August 2014, when the Isis surrounded the mountain of Sindjar, assaulting homes and entire villages, and perpetrating all kinds of violence, the Yazidis from Armenia have engaged in protests, as they are worried for their brethren of Syria and Iraq persecuted by the self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate of jihadists. Thousands of them have demonstrated in Dzizernagapert, the Hill of Swallows, which keeps the Memorial and Museum of Genoocide. Hundreds plasterboards reported the writing: "Turkey has not recognized the Armeian genocide, now we have to endure the Yazidi genocide". The Armenian government has sent aid to the Yazidis through the High Committee of the United Nations for refugees and has opened its borders to host them both in Armenia and in the area of Karabagh. Aid means were collected from the population, which tried to find accommodation for the families, which had fled the massacres, and to rescue the women and little girls victims of rape and torture, run away or freed by some humanitarian organizations that operate on the border betwee Iraq and Syrua, bringers of unspeakable levels of suffering.

Yazidis are a small and proud people, who yesterday came to the rescue of the Armenian rescapés on the mountains of Sindjar, and today is hosted in independent Armeia after the tragic events of 2014.

From 23 October 2014, at the UN headquarters the record of Isis crimes against the Yazidis was opened. The Vice secretary general of the UN Human Rights Agency reported that true war crimes and crimes against the humanity were perpetrated against the Yazidi people and on 20 March 2015, the inquiry performed by the UN Council for Human Rights reached the conclusion that the crime committed by the Isis against the Yazidis can be defined as "genocide", demanding the case to be brought before the International Criminal Court. Eventually, on 4 February 2016, the European Parliament - with the resolution entitled as "Systematic extermination of religious minorities by the Isis" - declared that Daesh/Isis has perpetrated genocide acts and other serious crimes that shall be punished according to the terms of international law. Nearly 3,800 between women, little girls and boys are still in the hands of the Isis, which has started a real slave trade. The cases of suicide of women and little girls are rather frequent, even after being freed, for the difficulties that the return and the acceptance in the community of belonging imply.

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Figures of truth

against the denial of the Armenian Genocide

Individuals that have not received a plaque on the Mural of Memory in Yerevan, nor the recognition of the committee “Memory is the Future”, but are distinct in their opposition to arguments of denial still prevalent in Turkey. Among them are a couple of intellectuals from Turkey who have not accepted to reject their duty of recognizing the truth and because of this are persecuted and threatened in their homeland. Journalist Hrant Dink, an Armenian, paid with his life to fight for the recognition of the genocide in Turkey.