Thousands of Yezidi women, girls and children remain in ISIS captivity, in deplorable conditions we can only imagine. Many have been rescued, some have escaped. Some, unable to handle their extended periods of abuse have committed suicide while in captivity, others after being rescued. Many continue to defy human understanding of resilience and courage both in captivity and after escape. Some have joined the Shengal Protection Units on their ancient mountain home, others have joined the YPJ, the PKK or the Peshmerga and now defend their communities.
It often feels like there is little we can do for those still captured, especially when we read and hear stories of their treatment in captivity. But there is one thing that we can do in solidarity: We can remember them and not let them and their plight be forgotten. As social activists, feminists, Kurdish allies, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist and imperialists it is easy to get caught up in hot social issues soon forgotten behind the many layers of web pages we frequent as the days go by. But the mark of genuine solidarity and allies is in continuing to speak and raise these issues, over and over again, and refusing to give up on the unnamed humans who continue to be affected by this problem.
29 years ago another group of Kurdish girls were taken during the Anfal campaign under Saddam’s Ba’athist regime, never to be seen again, never rescued; some still probably serving in brothels or the homes of their captures across the Middle East; forgotten, only remaining alive in the memory of loved ones who remember faces and moments long faded now with the painful echoes of time. These women are not hashtags, or temporary space fillers on your social media dashboard. Clicking “Like” is not genuine or adequate activism- activism can only be measured, in this instance at least, with the degree of the unbearable pain in your chest and what you choose to do as a result. These women- they breathe, they suffer, they hope, they dream. Do not forget them as you would not want yourself forgotten…
For more information, and support and donate to the Yezidi people’s efforts please visit: https://www.freeyezidi.org/