Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Yazidis, No friends but the mountains

Yazidis airlifted from Mt. Sinjar, Iraq

The mountains have historically served as both a comforting shield against foreign invasion and as a place of refuge. Many mountainous countries have had the benefits of beauty, sometimes fertile land and protection from extreme weather forces that devastate other regions. However, the mountains have also been a death trap for many escaping persecution or fleeing any advancing army. Iraqi's Yazidis have been forced on to the top of Mt. Sinjar outside of Dohuk, Iraq by ISIS or Islamic State. The Yazidis, ethnic Kurds that are neither Muslim or Christian regard themselves as one of the oldest religion in Iraq and the world at 6,000 years old. The most holiest site for Yazidis is Lalesh also in Iraq. Yazidi religion combines different teachings from Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam including a black book and book of Revelation. They also believe that seven angels rule over the world delivering good or evil to people and that a soul can be reincarnated so there is no need for hell or heaven. The story of the fallen angel mentioned in both Christianity and Islam is also believed by Yazidis with the exception that the fallen angel was a peacock angel named Melek Taus who is often mistaken for the fallen angel Lucifer (Shaytan is Arabic for devil or el diablo) mentioned in Christianity and Islam. The misunderstandings and connection with Melek Taus to Lucifer has led many non Yazidis, Muslims and Christians to associate the Yazidis with devil worship. ISIS is just the latest group to accuse the Yazidis of devil worship and apostasy threatening to kill them for heresy. The Yazidis have survived 72 genocides throughout the centuries persecuted by governments, neighbors, political parties and caught in the cross hairs of regional wars and conflicts.

Now 30,000 Yazidis are stranded on the mountain top in Nineveh province surrounded by ISIS militants below. The Yazidis now rely on U.S. and British humanitarian air drops of water and food to avoid starvation and death. Going downhill is not an option for the women, children and elderly searching for an escape route. Helicopters dropping aid ontop of Mt. Sinjar have often been crowded by Yazidis desperately jumping onboard the small helicopters for refuge. The aid helicopters have transported the fortunate Yazidis to safe far from Mt. Sinjar to Dahuk and other safer areas of Iraq. The Peshmegra have stepped up fighting back against ISIS where the Iraqi Army failed. The US has sent in several airstrikes while supplying the Peshmegra with light weapons in their fight against ISIS. Iraqi Christians in Northern Iraq have also been racing to the safety of Kurdish capital often being chased out of towns and villages by ISIS militants and terrorists. Syrian Kurdish fighters have been the ones evacuating the starving and injured children, parents and elderly.

Iraqi Parliamentarian Fiyan Dikheel appeals to all Iraqis and the worl:

Save the Yazidis from genocide and death

ISIS has destroyed several Yazidi shrines below Mt. Sinjar while surrounding the mountain with American military weapons, tanks, humvees and armored vehicles taken from the Iraqi Army who dispersed from Dohuk and Northern Iraq as ISIS fire power and determination gave them the upperhand in the military battles. The Iraqi Army has moved further south towards Iraq but is non functioning in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Peshmerga like the Syrian Kurdish fighters continue to provide security for civilians and have fought nonstop against ISIS' advances toward the Kurdish regional capital Erbil and other cities. Even the Peshmerga are having difficulty against ISIS weapons. The U.S. is weary of arming the Peshmerga before its weapons fall into further wrong hands. Although American military supplies and vehicles have already been seized by ISIS and by Libyan militias also following ISIS' model in Libya thanks to the previous NATO intervention in Libya. The U.S. indirect support for Syrian rebels fighting against the Syrian government in Damascus has also embolden ISIS fighters who are now trying to recruit Western fighters from across Europe to join their fight in Iraq as it had done in Syria with sleek videos and social media presentations. Yazidis and Peshmerga are frantically fighting off the Pandora's Box unleashed by Takfiri extremists who reject moderate salafis and Islamic clerics call for restraint. ISIS' extreme violence remains blacklisted by Al Qadea and even Radical cleric Abu qatada accused of terrorism rejected ISIS Caliphate for its violent sins.    

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