I do not endorse any request for money or weapons. I present this report for the edification of the public around the world. We need to know. We must decide according to reason and our own conscience what we want to do.
Many people want to help the Yezidi people who were viciously attacked, slaughtered, and kidnapped last August in Shingal, Iraq, but they do not know who to trust with a donation. I have sat in the tents and one-room container homes of many Yezidi women who have escaped from being held prisoners of war by so-called Islamic State (IS, ISIS, or ISIL) rapists. They tell of being severely beaten, bloodied, tied, and repeatedly raped, then sold to another man because they refused to willingly submit.
After a while, it is too much trouble to keep a rebellious woman locked up and guarded in one's own home, and so the women get sold to the next ISIS man.
That is why I am optimistic that every one of over 2500 Yezidis still held prisoner will eventually be returned. There is a network of persons negotiating for the Yezidis and transferring them onward, out of ISIS territory and to safety in Kurdistan.
Some people have been contacted by their captive loved ones or their captors and know where they are, but do not have the money to negotiate for their release.
A Jewish Canadian businessman, Steve Maman, has established a fund to raise money for the sole purpose of rescuing the kidnapped women and children. Please donate generously to this non-profit fund at Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq. Every dollar goes toward the release of those held prisoner by ISIS. Please share the link and ask your friends to share it.
Not one person is taking one dollar for himself or herself. The volunteers have been working in an emergency mode every waking hour since August 2014. Their own businesses and families have suffered, but they refuse to stop.
If you prefer your donation to be used for Yezidis who have already escaped or are displaced persons in the camps in Kurdistan or the refugee camps in Turkey, you may donate to the Kocho Shingal Fund using PayPal. Donations are managed by me, Amy Beam.
Except for PayPal's 3.2% fee, every dollar will be used directly for Yezidis. Alternative sites for fund-raising charge 8% and more. Please include a note on the PayPal payment page, "donation for Yezidis". You may add any additional instructions for use of your donation.
I do not represent any organization or charity. I am retired and have a small pension. I do not pay myself. Every dollar donated and spent is carefully accounted for.
I have added this PayPal payment method because so many people have written to me and asked to donate and have trusted me to use their donation for Yezidis because I have been on-location reporting on the Yezidi genocide since August 2014. With the first $70 dollars donated last October, I bought 14 stove burners for warming milk and water for babies.
One young mother of two toddlers under age 3 escaped last week. She explained emphatically, "There's nothing I need. I don't need money, clothes, a car, a house. I only need one thing: to leave Iraq forever.
A dozen women with their two-year-old children were in the room listening to her story and offering support. The reason all the escaped children are under age three is because when ISIS captured the Yezidis, they killed the adult males and gave the children over age two to ISIS families to brainwash and train to fight in ISIS. Some of these stolen children have been used as suicide bombers. Many can be seen in ISIS YouTube propaganda videos obediently lined up in rows, studying the Koran and learning to shoot a gun.
My translator, Erivan Mahdi, herself a young Yezidi female volunteer who has listened to the harrowing stories of 200 escaped women, explained, "Every single woman and child in this room has escaped from ISIS."
So I bought a large shoulder bag for each woman in anticipation of the day she and her children will board a plane to another country.
But so far, governments have not implemented any special enabling immigration policies for these Yezidi women and their children. Only a few programs such as one in Badden-Werttenburg, Germany, will accept traumatized women and children. The program is coordinated by Dr. Michael Blume in Germany and Dr. Mirza Dinnayi in Kurdistan. It will take only 1000 people. Those who have courage and financial resources have paid $5,000 to $11,000 US dollars per person to go illegally to Germany where they then apply for asylum.
It is meaningless for governments to say, "We won't send Yezidis back if they arrive here and apply for asylum." Countries must provide a legal and safe immigration policy to accept the displaced Yezidis.
Please contact your government officials and present them with proposals to establish special programs, VISA policies, and resettlement funds to accept Yezidis from Iraq, especially those who have suffered trauma from ISIS captivity.
REVENGE IS THE BEST CURE
A very well-intentioned and sympathetic person emailed me a so-called "scholarly" Harvard study on treatment methods for depression in women who have been raped as a part of war. I could not wade through the first three paragraphs of the Ph.D. run-on sentences. I have my Ph.D. too, so I think I am qualified to give my own scholarly comment. When I started my Ph.D. program, I learned what Ph.D. stands for: Piled Higher and Deeper (that is to say, more than the original B.S. degree).
There is a lot that has been written about the lack of psychological help for the escaped Yezidi women who have been traumatized by war and rape. Their husbands have been killed. Their children have been stolen. Their homeland is destroyed. Their lives are shattered. Weekly chat in a therapist's office can never ever fix this.
"What happened in Kocho against 1700 people is worse than a Shakespearean tragedy, worse than any Hamlet or Macbeth betrayal," says one of the few Yezidi men who survived Kocho mass executions.
The escaped women gather in each other's rooms while their two-year-olds play. They share their experiences of captivity and escape and form their own support groups. They do not need an outsider.
These women are not broken. To the contrary, their hearts are on fire with rage. They want ISIS to be destroyed, not contained. They are not using the victim's language of forgiveness. That talk of shame one reads about is largely media propaganda. These women want revenge.
One woman from Kocho, the village where over 400 boys and men were executed on August 15 and all the women and children kidnapped, asked me, "Why didn't the Americans stop the massacre? On August 15, there were American war planes flying back and forth overhead. We could see them, and they could see what was happening before ISIS killed all the men. Why didn't they stop the massacre?"
The YPJ woman commander guarding Shingal on the north side of the mountain, explained that Germany wants to train and send a force of 8000 people. "We don't need a German force here. Last week we stopped an attempted suicide attack in the center of ISIS-occupied Shingal city. What we need is money and our own arms and tanks. We know how to defeat ISIS, but we need foreign aid, not foreign soldiers."
In Washington, D.C., Congress and the Pentagon continue to demand that military aid is delivered to the Iraq government in Baghdad. However, in Shingal, it is the Pershmerga forces from Kurdistan and the PKK, YPG and YPJ Kurdish forces who are fighting ISIS.
Politicians in Washington urge the Baghdad government to send the military aid to Peshmerga in Kurdistan, yet the Baghdad government is three months delayed in paying salaries for them, along with other civil servants such as teachers.
Peshmerga are forced to take two weeks' leave in Erbil and drive taxis every month to support themselves, then return to fighting ISIS.
Steve Maman in Canada has asked the Canadian Minister of Defense to receive a delegation of Yezidis to explain their situation and what they need. Steve told me, "We need to send a team of the most important people to Canada to meet the Defense Minister and Parliament."
The most important Yezidis, the ones who understand what is needed, do not have job titles. The most important people are the Yezidi women and their toddlers who escaped ISIS sexual slavery.
The most important spokeswomen are two Yezidi sisters, 21-year-old Erivan and 23-year-old Houwayda Mahdi, who have hugged and wept with over 200 women who escaped ISIS. Both sisters work in the IDP camps in Kurdistan. They are widely respected by all Yezidis, aid agencies, government officials, camp managers, and security officers.
Erivan admitted to me that when she gets her monthly pay check, she gives it all away to needy families. "I have not shopped for myself in one year. There is nothing I need," she admitted to me last night through her tears. Both sisters have lamented to me, "I can't fix what happened." Erivan and Houwayda are intimately involved in all aspects of saving their own Yezidi people. They need your donations to continue helping others.
The Yezidi people know what they need: money, immigration, and the total defeat of ISIS.
Please help by sharing this story with your local papers and on social media. Your donations will be spent entirely on Yezidis.
By Dr. Amy L. Beam
Dr. Amy L. Beam promotes tourism in eastern Turkey at Mount Ararat Trek and writes political and historical commentary on Kurds and Yezidis atKurdistan Tribune. She has been reporting on the Yezidis since September 2014. Twitter @amybeam; firstname.lastname@example.org.