Today I would like to share with you the points below which we heard from the majority of the displaced people who we met.
Why we need international protection?
Why we need safe haven area?
There are today new realities on the ground in northern Iraq after the speed through which ISIS controlled vast swaths of land including area mainly inhabited by non-Muslim indigenous minorities (Christians and Yezidis). With regard to the above those minorities are in fear of losing their centuries old culture, faith, livelihood, and heritage. The situation of these indigenous people is in real peril if something is not done fast. They are living a real fear of extinction and eradication if they are not protected and we believe we need to do that for the following reasons:
1- They have lost trust in the Iraqi government’s will and capacity to protect them, needless to say how the Iraqi forces left Mosul or rather surrendered Mosul and many other areas to ISIS without putting up a fight.
2- They have lost trust in KRG’s capacity to protect them. In some cases the famous Peshmarga escaped without informing the civilians they were supposed to protect.
3- They have lost trust in their own neighbors, in the city of Mosul as well as other cities such as Sinjar and Telkef where non-Muslim minorities lived side by side with their Muslim neighbors in peace and tranquility as long as there was a power that checked the Muslim majority. In the absence of that power, the Muslim neighbors saw their non-Muslim neighbors stealing all they can put their hands just like what happened in the aftermath of the Massacre of Semele (Iraq) in 1933. With the power vacuum that was instigated by the ill-designed policies of the Iraqi government and with the sweeping control of ISIS, it was the neighbors who told ISIS where were the non-Muslim houses were because they, Muslim neighbors, served as an incubator to support ISIS terrorists, not only did they show the houses to ISIS but they also participated in the looting and stealing that ensued.
4- We see that the perpetuity of these ancient communities has become, at this point, the responsibility of the civilized world, because they have lost all faith in their government(s) and neighbors
5- The world has to stop the current genocide, displacement, and forced migration, and that could only be accomplished if we protect these minorities In their own historic lands and we believe this is doable if the world acts on establishing a safe haven area.
6- It will be good even for those Muslim neighbors alluded to in 3 above as these thriving minorities will serve as catalysts that will benefit the cultural exchange and coexistence across the Iraqi mosaic.
7- It will serve as an international example if marketed wisely to the region and the world. The success of which could serve as a good example of the possibility of different ethnic groups, religions to live side by side in peace and harmony.
8- It will entice the local governments to induce the example into their education systems and eventually to the national level which will lead to forming laws and regulations where ethnic and religious minorities will not feel they are second class citizens.
9- It will prevent further forced migration and eventually lift a burden on the economy of the western countries these non-Muslim minorities are heading to.
10- It will tell the majority Muslims in Iraq that they are on the watch when it comes to persecuting non-Muslims.
11- it will force other countries with non-Muslim minorities to be on the watch and treat their non-Muslim minorities fairly.
This is a cry for help, this is an appeal for preservation of ancient human culture that contributed to immensely to mankind, we hope you will find in your good heart the means and ways to protect these minorities.
Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana
ܐܪܟܕܝܩܘܢ ܥܡܢܘܐܝܠ ܝܘܚܢܢ
Christian Aid Program CAPNI
Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan