What is truth?

SHENGAL - The old Kurdish saying “We have no friends but the mountains” became more relevant than ever when on Aug. 3, 2014, the murderous Islamic State group launched what is referred to as the 73rd massacre on the Yazidis by attacking the city of Sinjar (in Kurdish: Shengal), slaughtering thousands of people, and raping and kidnapping the women to sell them as sex slaves.	Ten thousand Yazidis fled to the Shengal Mountains in a death march in which they, and especially children, died of hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. This year on the same day, the Yazidis marched in the Shengal Mountains again. But this time in a protest to vow that nothing will ever be the same again.

Last year, the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) promised the people to guarantee Shengal’s safety, but ran away without warning when the Islamic State group attacked, not even leaving arms behind for people to defend themselves. Instead, it was the guerrilla of the PKK, as well as the the Kurdish People's Defense Units, or YPG, and its women’s brigade the YPJ from Rojava, who in spite of having Kalashnikovs and a only handful of fighters, opened a corridor to Rojava, rescuing 10,000 people.


For an entire year, Yazidi women have been portrayed as helpless rape victims by the media. Countless interviews repeatedly asked them how often they were raped and sold, ruthlessly making them relive the trauma for the sake of sensationalist news reporting. Yazidi women were presented as the embodiment of the crying, passively surrendering woman, the ultimate victim of the Islamic State group, the female white flag to patriarchy. Furthermore, the wildest orientalist portrayals grotesquely reduced one of the oldest surviving religions in the world to a new exotic field yet to be explored.

Ignored is the fact that Yazidi women armed themselves and now mobilize ideologically, socially, politically and militarily with the framework laid out by Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the PKK. In January, the Shengal Founding Council was established by Yazidi delegates from both the mountain and the refugee camps, demanding a system of autonomy independent of the central Iraqi government or the KRG. Several committees for education, culture, health, defense, women, youth, and economy organize everyday issues. The council is based on democratic autonomy, as articulated by Öcalan, and met harsh opposition by the KDP, the same party which fled Shengal without a fight. The newly-founded YBŞ (Shengal Resistance Units), the all-women’s army YPJ-Shengal, and the PKK build the frontline against the Islamic State group here, without receiving a share of the weapons provided to the peshmerga by international forces. Several YBŞ and council members were also arrested in Iraqi Kurdistan.


A young YPJ-Shengal fighter guarding the anniversary march next to elderly Yazidi men.

On July 29, women of all ages made history by founding the autonomous Shengal Women’s Council, promising: “The organization of Yazidi women will be the revenge for all massacres.” They decided that families must not intervene when girls want to participate in any part of the struggle and committed to internally democratizing and transforming their own community. They do not want to simply “buy back” the kidnapped women, but liberate them through active mobilization by establishing not only a physical, but also a philosophical self-defense against all forms of violence.

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: 
 "http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/From-Genocide-to-Resistance-Yazidi-Women-Fight-Back-20150821-0014.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

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