Friday, 8 August 2014

What genocide really feels like, by a prospective victim

Yesterday I wrote about what genocide really means, when the word isn’t being thrown around as a simple term of abuse to hurl at anyone using brutal and excessive force to achieve military ends.

Today my blood ran cold as I heard a man facing the prospect of real genocide being perpetrated against his people, and specifically himself. He was facing that fate not at some indefinite date in the future, but within a few hours. If you
’re reading this in the evening of 8 August, there’s every likelihood that the speaker is dead, killed by foes so pitiless that he would rather have the international community bomb him than die at their hands.

If he
’s killed, it will not be for anything he’s done, but for what he is: a member of the Yazidi faith in Northern Iraq. 

This is my transcript of what he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning. I give it without comment: I feel it provides commentary enough in itself.

Yazidis on Mount Sinjar
Awaiting death by thirst, or by Isis

Currently our situation is very catastrophic. We don’t have any food, we don’t have any water. In the last couple of days, I’ve seen 22 children who died because of the lack of food and water, and I’ve seen  also four or five women and men who died because of the lack of supplies. We’re currently on the mountain surrounded on four different sides, and right now, while we’re speaking, there are clashes between Isis and a couple of our people. I would also like to add that maybe you will not be able to contact me again, because I will be already killed.

The clashes now are very, very close to where I stand. Now there are clashes among the final line of resistance. There is a small checkpoint inside the mountain. If Isis defeat the defending forces there and advance by night, they will kill every one of us and all this ethnicity will be wiped out

It’s a matter of hours whether they manage to capture this last checkpoint by nightfall. They will kill all of us and we don’t think we have enough time.

We already fled because they killed more than 1000 people around the area and they captured also more than 200 women and girls.

Send us urgent help and urgent rescue because we are facing our certain death. If the international community can’t help us and send us urgent rescue, I want them to bomb us and wipe us out, because we would rather that than be captured or killed by Isis. They will have to live with the guilt they have. Because our time now has reached almost the end.


Anonymous said...

I too have thought a great deal about the Yezidis. The reason people are readier to condemn Israeli atrocities when Iraqis, Syrians, Islamic terrorists are doing considerably worse is that the Israelis are considered to be a rich sophisticated (and educated) people. they are "expected" to do better.


David Beeson said...

I'd slightly change the focus of what you say: Israel claims to be a democracy and to respect human rights. Therefore, it seems to me, we have a right to hold them to higher standards - the standards they have, in effect, set themselves by making the claim.

Nevertheless, and the world does seem to have woken up to the fact, what's happening to the Yazidis is on so much vaster a scale of barbarity than what Israel is doing in Gaza, that it crosses a qualitative threshold too, into true genocide – or at least, for the moment, attempted genocide.

There is an excellent case against Israel for war crimes. Against the "Islamic State", the charge is far more serious still.