The Yazidi Genocide and the Problems with Racism towards the Yazidis

Rodi Said/Reuters
Rodi Said/Reuters

The Yazidis are an ancient religious group that primarily reside in Northern Iraq, but also have a significant presence in Syria, Turkey, and Armenia. They practice a unique religion that has roots in Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam. Unfortunately, the Yazidis have been victims of persecution and genocide for many years, as they are often targeted by extremist groups in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

The most well-known instance of Yazidi genocide occurred in 2014, when the Islamic State (IS) targeted the Yazidis in Iraq. IS militants killed thousands of Yazidi men, women, and children, and kidnapped thousands more women and children to use as sex slaves or forced labor in their territories. The Yazidis were targeted for their religion, as IS viewed their beliefs as heretical and un-Islamic.

Although the Yazidi genocide in 2014 received significant media attention, the persecution of the Yazidis has been ongoing for many years. Historically, the Yazidis have faced discrimination and violence in Iraq, with the government often failing to protect them from attacks by Sunni militants. In Turkey and Syria, the Yazidis have been targeted by both Sunni and Kurdish extremist groups, who view them as infidels and targets for violence.

One of the primary reasons that the Yazidis are targeted for violence is racism. The Yazidis are an ethnic and religious minority, and as such, they are often viewed as inferior by extremist groups. Racism towards the Yazidis is deeply ingrained in Iraqi, Syrian, and Turkish societies, and has contributed to their marginalization and vulnerability to violence. Additionally, the international community has failed to recognize the Yazidi genocide as a unique and specific form of violence, which has further perpetuated racism towards the Yazidis.

There are also cultural and economic factors at play in the persecution of the Yazidis. The Yazidis have a reputation for being successful farmers and traders, which has made them targets for economic exploitation by various groups. They also have a distinct culture and language, which has made them vulnerable to assimilation and erasure by dominant cultural groups.

To address the problems with racism towards the Yazidis, it is essential to recognize their unique identity and culture, and to ensure their protection from violence and discrimination. This can be achieved through international recognition of the Yazidi genocide, providing humanitarian aid and support to Yazidi communities, promoting tolerance and understanding between different religious and ethnic groups, and holding accountable those who perpetrate violence against the Yazidis.

Ultimately, the Yazidis deserve respect and protection, as well as the ability to practice their religion and culture without fear of persecution or violence. Addressing and overcoming racism towards the Yazidis is an important step towards achieving this goal.

About the Author
Michael Arizanti is a debater born in the Netherlands, raised in Norway but now living in Sweden. In Sweden he has been an important part of the debate on how to deal with violence-promoting extremism, and how to fight honor-related violence and oppression. Nowadays he has more focus on human rights and the Kurdish issue.
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