Long before the controversy of whether or not the freed Yezidi women of Islamic State should hold on to their children became a topic of conversation among the Kurds, a doctor rang the alarm bells:
“For Yezidis, there are simply not enough well people to create a sense of collective health.” Translation: Yezidis are hurting and hurt people can’t help hurt people to feel better.
The good doctor had the small number of traumatized Yezidi population of Canada in mind, but she might have as well delivered her verdict for the entire Yezidi population of the Middle East.
Yezidis speak Kurdish, but some of them want nothing to do with Muslim Kurds of Kurdistan, since some of our bigots have added to their calamities, and those of us who know better have done too little too late to earn their goodwill and trust.
So, what can non-Yezidi Kurds do to help heal their gaping wounds?
Not a lot, but some Yezidis, unhappily, are partly to blame.
Take the Yezidi Spiritual Council’s decision last Saturday to welcome back the freed Yezidi women—but not their children fathered by their Islamic State captors.
A day later, Nobel laureate Nadia Murad posted a video on her Facebook page urging greater understanding about the plight of Yezidi women and their children, arguing they should decide what is best for them.
Thank you, Nadia Murad. Unlike members of Yezidi Spiritual Council, you survived the horrors of Islamic State and know more about the plight of enslaved Yezidi women than all the Yezidi men put together.
The wisdom of ages is on your side too. In the Old Testament, there is a story about two women who had fallen on hard times and each had mothered a child similar to our Yezidi women.
These Biblical women were sharing a house, nursing their newborns. One night, one of them rolls over on her baby in bed and kills it—but next morning claims the other baby as her own.
As the story goes, the two women are unable to resolve the motherhood of the living baby. They seek help and find themselves in the court of King Solomon. As the good king listens to their stories, he orders one of his servants to bring him a sword.
The king then commands: “Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.”
The mother whose child is about to be halved exclaims, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means slay it.”
The other mother adds: “It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it.”
The wise king says, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means slay it; she is its mother” (I Kings 3:16-28).
The Bible says King Solomon’s decision followed a dream in which God gave him “a heart with skill to listen, so that he may govern [God’s] people justly and distinguish good from evil.”
“A heart with skill to listen,” is definitely missing from the decision of Yezidi Spiritual Council. The same body is also lacking an ability to read the signs of the times to protect its flock.
Before the Islamic State emerged in the Middle East, a Yezidi girl, Du’a Khalil Aswad, fell deeply in love with a Muslim boy in 2007
Instead of listening to her or reasoning with her, the Yezidis of her community not only stoned her to death in the town-square, but also filmed and shared her murder as if gleefully celebrating it.
Muslim extremists were among those who viewed the macabre festival. They took offense and struck back and killed as many as 500 Yezidis while maiming another 1,500 five months later.
The Yezidis live in a sea of Muslims and have suffered 73 massacres of their loved ones by their neighbors.
They could minimize their losses by respecting the decision of their children who may fall in love with the followers of Mohammad or Christ or Buddha.
Last month, Sheperd Doeleman of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, showed the world dramatic pictures of a mystifying black hole in the universe.
Sadly, he could have found many pictures of the same phenomenon by visiting the Middle East. Goethe had it right: “The most frightening thing on the face of the earth is to see ignorance in action.”
It doesn’t look like the Yezidis can escape the Black Hole of Bigotry among their present leadership. Perhaps those who have migrated to the land of Martin Luther in Germany will learn something from the old monk and spark a reform movement among the surviving Yezidis.
Otherwise the 74th massacre of Yezidis in the near future is as certain as the sun rising in the east.
Kani Xulam @AKINinfo
This article originally appeared on Rudaw Media Network’s website, rudaw.net.