The founder president of Yazidi Human Rights Organisation (YHRO) Mirza Ismail looks fragile when he talks about 74 genocides of his community members by the Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria. A victim of one of the genocides he managed to escape to Canada. He runs an organisation from there catching the world attention to the atrocities the Yazidis, also spelt as Yezidis, have to face in the Middle East nations under control of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Ismail was in Mumbai to participate in a conference organised by International Centre for Cultural Studies (ICCS). He spoke exclusively to India Today on the state of Yezidis and his expectations from India.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Q. What is your complaint pertaining to the human rights violations when it comes to the Yazidis?
MI: The Yazidis are facing genocide from the Muslims. They kidnapped our women and children and killed our men. They destroyed our culture and identity when we opposed the conversion. The ISIS attacked us, collected our weapons. They are forcing their cultural identity on us. The ISIS has killed 7,450 Yazidi men and women. The ISIS does not kill Christians because they have support from the western countries. They kill anyone who refuses to convert.
Q. Have you approached the Kurdish forces seeking help?
MI: The Kurdish forces did not come for our help. Instead, they backstabbed us. The ISIS made us run for life but the Kurdish forces remained silent spectator. They did not give us weapons to take a counter fight. They said it was against Sharia to fight against the Muslims. When Saddam Hussain was alive no one could attack us.
Q. What kind of an attack was it?
MI: The ISIS beheaded our men, abducted women and children. They destroyed our houses, planted explosives in the remains of the houses. We had to run for life. For us, the rocks were the bed and sky was the shelter. We had to eat leaves to survive. There are faith check points on way to Mosul. If they find any Yazidi they either capture him/her and ask for ransom to their families or kill him/her.
Q. Are you satisfied with the response by the international community?
MI: Not at all. The international community woke up four days after the genocide. Only Jewish community stood behind us. They gave us bread and water. The UN came into action much later by providing some food and tents. We had to sleep in open field. The UN built tents. Most of the Yazidis are still staying in the tents. The situation has not changed in last three years.
Q. Did you seek help from other countries?
MI. We have been meeting the authorities in US and Canada. The US, UK and other European countries did nothing. The international communities are still struggling whether to take an action or not. They support the Kurdish politically, logistically and internationally. The UN is at the mercy of the Muslim countries because they fund it from their oil money.
Q. What are your demands?
MI. We want weapons to build our police force. The US has refused to give us weapons.
Q. Isn’t it because you don’t have money to buy the weapons?
MI. Yes but the fact is US is providing others weapons at free of cost. We have nothing. No property, no wealth. We had to run for our life. How we will pay for the weapons?
Q. What do you expect from India?
MI. We met (External Affairs Minister) Sushma Swaraj last week in Delhi. We told her India should become our voice at the UN. She was very compassionate but we do not know whether it will happen.
By: India Today