A photography exhibition, organized by Nafal Art in Qamishli, northeastern Syria, opened on the seventh anniversary of the beginning of the genocide that was committed against the Yazidi people by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Jinha reports.
Journalist Shinda Akram stated that 116 photographs by various journalists who reported from the region during the time of the genocide were exhibited.
Pointing out that fighters from the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) had rushed to defend and protect the Yazidi people at the point that they had been abandoned by the South Kurdistan and Iraqi administrations, Akram emphasized that the genocide could only be documented and brought to the world’s notice, thanks to the journalists who reported from the region.
“The journalists, in those harsh circumstances, managed to reach Mount Sinjar. They took photographs and documented the genocide,” she said. She added that the exhibition was actually a call to the countries who had remained silent during the genocide.
Zozan Shemo, the spokesperson for the Women’s Council of the Future Syria Party Al-Jazira branch, stated that international support was necessary for the Yazidi people and that the genocide should be recognized on a wider scale: “Today, everyone has to support the Yazidi people for a better life, to provide relief for all the pain the women suffered, to help them cope with the impacts of the massacre … and to help them feel joy again.”
Jînda Asmin, one of the journalists whose photographs appear in the exhibition, indicated that she could recall all the details of the massacre she witnessed, just by looking at the photographs.
She also said that the powerful photographs taken by Nûjiyan Erhan, who was martyred as she was reporting from Sinjar (Shengal), were in the exhibition too. She emphasized that Erhan followed the struggle of the Yazidi women to find their own path.
“As journalists, we ought to reveal what went on there. This was our responsibility and we had to tell it, even if it cost us our lives,” she said.
“We mustn’t forget what happened,” she said. “The photographs here tell us about it. These photographs are actually a memory.”
Asmin added that the female fighters who were martryed defending Sinjar must not fade from our memories either.
The 3rd August this year marked the seventh anniversary of the attack by ISIS on the Yazidi towns and villages south of Mount Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan, when the peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government withdrew, leaving the civilians defenceless against the ISIS attack. Massacres were committed, leaving thousands of civilians dead, thousands of women and children enslaved and 500,000 refugees, fleeing for their lives.