More than the people of Kurdistan, the mountains of Kurdistan have long bared witness to violences, massacres and genocides… stoically, they have remained standing, as they have watched the cruelty and evil in the heart of men unfold before their ancient, watching eyes. They watched again, Two years ago today, as the Yezidi people were attacked, abandoned and betrayed and massacred, with women and children carried away to be sold in the markets and alleyways of Syria and Iraq; and surely if we could but understand how mountains cry we would have seen how they weeped more than the mothers whose children died in their arms, or the fathers whose daughters were stolen before their eyes; they weeped more because this is the 72nd genocide of these innocent, equally ancient people they have been forced to watch; and surely if they could stand and walk away, the mountains of Shengal would leave their ancient resting places,and turn their backs on men, just so that their valleys and rivers would not be watered with the blood of innocents spilled in the name abstract gods and imagined identities; surely if they could they would walk away so that they would not be forced to bare witness to the evils we subject each other to; And I imagine them still raging against a system of men who remained silent as the Yezidis were massacred, thrown in mass graves, little boys and girls taken and the women forced into trucks to later fill the homes of the self proclaimed Amirs of evil and terrorism.
There is a feeling that is indescribable when oppressed and tyrannized people think of the horrors they have been forced to experience and witness. And in the midst of what seems like a never ending parade of genocides, massacres, rapes and other unimaginable horrors it is easy to let the warm blanket of forgetfulness cover our collective consciousness. It is easy to allow cultural taboos and practices to be the hand that gently lays this comforting blanket of forgetfulness. It is this blanket that still covers us when we still allow social taboos to prevent us from speaking of the thousands of other Kurdish women and girls stolen during another genocide, this time enacted by Saddam not so long ago. But to forget is to betray again; and if just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the West we must be sure of one thing: “Never Again”.
But I know the ancient mountains remain standing because just as they have witnessed the massacres and the genocides, they have also seen the freedom fighters trekking through the mountains to save the terrorized Yezidis. They remain standing because they have seen a love for humanity and each other and the possibilities of a world that could be- a world that appears closer than the mists of tyranny and violence make it appear. A world in which we all live side by side, where the children of once oppressed and massacred people grow tall and strong in comforting security of safety and peace; where young girls can sit by streams dreaming, their long strands waving freely in the wind, unafraid,- as free and as wild as the possibilities and a future that await their free hearts. But we learned through Shengal and Kobane that no one hands young girls freedom; This is why Never Again also involves holding the means of our self protection. This is why Never Again means that making sure that we are not so helpless that only the mountains cry for us. This means making sure that Never Again includes women who stand proudly and tall, holding the weapons that protect their communities and their people, their lives and their bodies.
Long live the resistance and self protection units of Shengal; and may the women of Shengal once again feel the winds of freedom in their hair…