Monday, August 4, 2014

A catastrophe threatens the Yazidis of Northern Iraq

The Yazidis of Northern Iraq are facing genocide. A small group, their beliefs date back to ancient Mesopotamia. When I was researching the world of the copper cave (Nahal Mishmar), I thought to myself that here is a living link to that world and now, being destroyed by the forces of modern religious intolerance - convert or die.

Zara Mgoyan was born to a Yezidi Kurdish family in Gyumri, Armenia in 1983

The Yazidi minority faces a struggle for survival in Iraq after their bastion Sinjar was taken over Sunday by Islamic State jihadists, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee.

The existence of the small Kurdish-speaking community on its ancestral land is now critically endangered. Here are a few facts about the Yazidis:

- The largest community is in Iraq -- 600,000 people according to the highest Yazidi estimates, but barely 100,000 according to others -- while a few thousand are also found in Syria, Turkey, Armenia and Georgia. They are mostly impoverished farmers and herders.

- They follow a faith born in Mesopotamia more than 4,000 years ago. It is rooted in Zoroastrianism but has over time blended in elements of Islam and Christianity.

Yazidis pray to God three times a day facing the sun and worship his seven angels -- the most important of which is Melek Taus, or Peacock Angel.

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nancy namaste said...

John Carroll on nuance - and death in the Middle East.

nancy namaste said...