No To Theravada, On To Taus
It was a day of double delight for the Yazidis. When the Norwegian Nobel Committee was announcing names of 2018 Peace Prize winners on October 5, the Yazidi community was celebrating a religious festival in northern Iraq. Thousands of Yazidis were offering prayers at their holiest temple in Lalish – a small mountain valley village situated in the Shekhan District of Dihok Governorate in Iraqi Kurdistan, when they received the news that Nadia Murad Basee Taha was honoured with the Peace Prize for putting her own personal security at risk by courageously combating war crimes and securing justice for victims of rape. They returned home in the evening with enough courage and joy over the moral victory of Yazidis against the ISIS terrorists.
A couple of days later, Sinjar-based translator and freelance journalist S Singali explained the scenario in northern Iraq after the daughter of the soil bagged the Nobel Peace Prize for her jihad against sexual violence. In her Facebook post, Singali said: “The girl taught us to fight. Her Nobel made us proud. What else do you expect from her?” Currently, 25-year-old Nadia – a Goodwill Ambassador of the UN – lives in Germany. “Still, she is the ‘daughter of the soil’,” stressed Singali.
Nadia with former UN Chief Ban Ki-moon
The ISIS militants had kidnapped Nadia from this town in Shingal District in 2014 and made a sex slave of her. After being held captive by the militants for three months, she managed to escape and took shelter in Duhok refugee camp in northern Iraq. When asked what the situation was there in the camp, Siraj Davis – the US citizen of Japanese descent who teaches English in Duhok on Saturdays – said: “We all respect Nadia. I hope that this daredevil girl will inspire many more in the coming days! We don’t need another Aung San Suu Kyi. We want Nadia to be like Nadia.”
1991… Nadia was not born yet. Suu Kyi (a Theravada Buddhist) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize that year for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights in Myanmar. In a statement, the Nobel Committee had said: “Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression.” Currently, the Myanmarese politician, diplomat, author and Nobel Peace Prize laureate is a State Counsellor, a position akin to a prime minister. However, the Rohingya Muslims suffer racial discrimination in the South-east Asian nation. They are gunned down, their villages are burnt, crops destroyed, babies thrown into fire and girls and women raped. Reportedly, Suu Kyi maintains silence on the Rohingya genocide!
Talking to the media, Davis said: “Nadia’s responsibility increased further after receiving the Nobel. Nadias will have to fight against corruption. Various oil companies are working in the Yazidi-dominated areas in Iraq. However, the Yazidis get nothing.”
Currently, the IS terrorists are in trouble in Iraq and the Yazidi people have started returning home. However, Singali is still worried. “It’s not important whether the terrorists still exist. It has become difficult for us to survive as a community in West Asia. Here, nobody wants us,” she said. Singali also said that many Yazidis want to leave Iraq.
Now, Nadia will have to face all these issues. Nadia, jointly with Lamiya Aji Bashar, was awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize by the Council of Europe in 2016. Davis said that the majority of the Iraqi people don’t even know Lamiya – another Yazidi girl who had escaped her IS group enslavers but only after a mine exploded, killing two girls fleeing with her and leaving her face scarred and blinding her in one eye.
Lamiya Aji Bashar
Unlike Lamiya, Young Kurdish Yazidi girl Ashwaq has got an opportunity to share her views with others through Facebook. Ashwaq, who had also escaped the IS, settled in a refugee camp in Stuttgart with her mother and brother. After spending three years in Stuttgart, she met Abu Humam, the IS militant who had bought Ashwaq in Mosul for USD 100 and subjected her to constant inhuman abuses. She informed the German police about Humam’s whereabouts, but the police refused to help her. Humam, appears to have no fear and no regrets, started harassing Ashwaq once again and forced her to return to Kurdistan.
Now, Nadia will have to fight for Ashwaqs, too. The Yazidi people believe that she will never become a mere symbol of protests, but help the community enjoy their basic rights. The entire world, too, believe the same!
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