A Genocide – A Femicide

The ongoing Yazidi genocide started with the assault in the Sinjar area by the terror group named the „Islamic State“ (IS) on August 3, 2014. Out of the 400,000 people who had to leave everything behind within the space of a few hours, tens of thousands were surrounded by the IS in the Sinjar mountains where, in the mid-summer heat, they had to fear for their lives for days on end before the Kurdish forces YPG/YPJ from Rojava (Northern Syria) and HPG/YJA-Star were able to lead them to safety via a corridor to Rojava. 6,000 Yazidis, most of them women and children, were abducted, raped, sold and enslaved. Attempts were also made to Islamize them by force. Around half of them managed to escape from IS prisons. Thousands of men are considered to be missing or dead. There are dozens of mass graves in Sinjar.
More than 100,000 Yazidis have returned to Sinjar since; however, the majority still live as displaced persons and refugees in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Europe, Canada and Australia.
Women play an important role in conserving a religious or ethnic community. Without women as vessels of social values it is hard for an identity to survive. Sinjar was of geo-strategic importance for the IS. It borders the Kurdish regions in Syria and Iraq which were next attacked in 2014. The IS was heading towards Kobane and Erbil. According to the construct of radical Islam propagated by the IS, Yazidis are infidels and “outlaws”. IS’s goal was to humiliate these “opponent” and annihilate Yazidi culture. To this day, it uses the most brutal forms of violence against the Yazidi people – women in particular – to reach that end. This genocide is also a targeted femicide. But because the members of the Yazidi community – and specially their men – embrace and warmly welcome the returning women, they have shown strength in the face of the inhuman, patriarchal, radical-Islamic thoughts and actions, the war crimes and war goals of the IS. Yazidi women have become stronger than before.