Avesta: Shengal resistance is a question of to be or not to be

Sozdar Avesta of the KCK has spoken out in an interview about the dangers of the agreement between the KDP and the Iraqi government on the Shengal region, warning that resistance to it is a question of "to be or not to be."

Last October, the governments in Baghdad and Hewlêr (Erbil) concluded an agreement on the control of Shengal (Sinjar). Until August 14, 2014, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) had the Yazidi settlement area under its control with 20,000 peshmerga. When the jihadist terrorist organization "Islamic State" (IS) attacked the Shengal region, the peshmerga were ordered to withdraw, leaving the population to the genocide of IS. Thousands of women and girls were abducted and enslaved, men were mostly murdered immediately. Only through the resistance of a twelve-member guerrilla unit of the People's Defense Forces (HPG) and YPG/YPJ units from Rojava rushing to help was it possible to repel the IS and finally establish a self-defense force in the region. Disillusioned with the KDP, the Yazidis organized their own self-government. With the October agreement, these autonomous structures are now to be dissolved.

Sozdar Avesta of the Presidential Council of Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) commented on the agreement to the Kurdish television station Stêrk TV, describing it as part of a comprehensive concept of attack: "Since October 9, there has been a relentless resistance in Shengal. This resistance is about legitimate rights. The people of Shengal have been subjected to many massacres so far, most recently in 2014 when thousands of women, children, young and old were massacred, raped and abducted by IS in front of the eyes of the whole world.

"Resistance of Gir Zirk village saved hundreds of thousands"

We have seen how people defended themselves at that time. In 2014, the IS attack began in the village of Gir Zirk. The residents of the village, armed with small arms and hunting weapons, resisted on their own from the night of the attacks until noon the next day. Dozens of local youths were killed in these attacks. If no one had resisted at that time, IS would have arrived in Shengal within half an hour and invaded all the villages. Then hundreds of thousands, not tens of thousands, would have been taken captive and there would be nothing left of Shengal. This means: the Yazidi people thus have the will to resist. Since October 9, there are those who consider the resistance of the people as politics. There are corrupt people who declare that 'women and children are used against the Iraqi army'. But the Yazidi people are fighting to be or not to be.

"They want to rule as if nothing had happened"

We know that the agreement between the Iraqi government and the KDP was reached under pressure from the Turkish state. They are using this deal as a blackmail tool against the Yazidi society. However, the demands of the Yazidi people are also enshrined in the Iraqi constitution. The people just want to keep the system that they themselves have built. The forces that the people had relied on for years abandoned them when IS attacked, why should the people trust them? Mothers who stand against the Iraqi army are mothers who have survived IS persecution. They are mothers who know how many times their daughters were raped. The forces that want to invade Shengal are behaving shamelessly toward these mothers. They say to the people, 'Give up your self-government, dissolve the defense forces, close your institutions. Let us rule again as if nothing had happened.' The Yazidi society has not accepted this and never will.

"Iraq should follow its own constitution"

The Iraqi constitution states that the peoples of the country can live autonomously, with their own beliefs and languages. The Iraqi state should not follow a monist denial approach like the Turkish state but should conform to its constitution. The people of Shengal want the Iraqi government to act according to its laws.

I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize that Gir Zirk's resistance is of particular importance. We know the mothers who were in the resistance. They have been taking an honorable stance against all attacks for years. It was these resistance mothers who filled in the trenches dug by the KDP in Khanasor with their own hands. They are the mothers of the daughters who fell in this cause. The Yazidi society is resistant. It must continue the resistance against the invading forces. Resistance alone leads to success. Surrender leads to betrayal and destruction.

"Yezidi refugees are hostages in KDP territory"

The KDP wants to use the Yazidi society as a tool. Guerrillas saved tens of thousands of people in the Shengal region from being killed. They opened a humanitarian corridor and ensured that people could flee to southern Kurdistan. But the KDP has now taken these people hostage. The KDP knows very well that the Yazidi people will not accept the October 9 agreement. It is preventing the return of the Yazidis to Shengal. In the coming months, elections will be held in Iraq, and the KDP is using the Yazidis as a means of blackmail to get their votes. I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to the Yazidis in the camps in South Kurdistan not to get involved in the KDP’s game. Return to your land in Shengal. Join the self-defense forces or the institutions of self-government and make your own voices heard. Give your votes to the Yazidi Freedom and Democracy Party (PADÊ). Vote for your own party and not for those who are responsible for the massacre of the Yazidi people.

"Either live freely or be enslaved"


If the Yazidis return from the camps in South Kurdistan, the October 9 agreement will fail. As long as they remain in these camps, the occupiers will impose this agreement on the Yazidi people. The Yazidi community should not take the agreement lightly. It is a matter of to be or not to be. Either they will live freely and resist, or they will be enslaved. A slave life is worse than death for them. Therefore, our people should not let up, even if this resistance, which has been going on for seven months, has to continue for seven years. If they resist in this way, they will win. Even if only the women remain, this resistance will succeed. Because the resistance of Shengal is a resistance of women."