Zehrê Şemo: In Shengal we are fighting for our existence

Zehrê Şemo from the Yazidi women's movement TAJÊ said that the agreement between the KDP and the Iraqi government is about “exist or don’t exist” and warned of a new massacre in the Shengal region.

The threats by the Iraqi central government, the South Kurdish KDP and the Turkish state against the self-governing Yazidi region of Shengal continue. Zehrê Şemo from the Yazidi Women's Liberation Movement (Tevgera Azadiya Jinên Êzidî, TAJÊ) said that the people in the region will not bow down. She recalled the genocide and femicide committed by the Islamic State in August 2014 and said that the massacre was made possible by the withdrawal of the KDP troops. Last year the KDP and the Iraqi government signed an agreement on the division of the Shengal region. This agreement, backed by Turkey among others, is now to be implemented, she said.

Şemo said: “Four months ago we set up a resistance tent in front of the Asayîş Êzîdxanê [self-government security forces]. Turkey, the Iraqi army and the KDP threaten us every day. With the support of the Barzani family, the Turkish state is attacking Shengal with tanks and artillery, but we are not afraid of them. Erdoğan, the Barzani family and even the Pope call on us to lay down our arms.

Why should we lay down our arms? If we lay down our arms, they will slaughter us again, try to Islamize us, or burn our houses down. They want everything to go the way they want and we are supposed to be slaves. We will never accept that. Iraqi troops and KDP peshmerga were here in 2014, but when ISIS mercenaries attacked, they sold us. At that time there were Iraqi troops, the KDP and Hashd al-Shaabi here. Everyone left us and fled. Everyone could see what happened to the Yazidi women during the genocide."

"The Pope, Erdoğan and Barzani should apologize to the Yazidi women"

Regarding the agreement between Iraq and the KDP on the future of Shengal, Şemo said: “We have been seeking talks with the Iraqi government for four months, but they ignore our demands. We will never bow to the pressure. We will not accept any agreement that has not been ratified by the people, and especially by the women of Shengal. The Pope, Erdoğan and Barzani should apologize to the Yazidi women. The Yazidi women will not allow any further genocide. Today we have our institutions, we have our defense units, we have the YBŞ. Yazidi women are now fighting in all areas."

Şemo added that the Iraqi government had given the activists in front of the Asayîşa Êzîdxanê until 1 April to vacate the square. “On 1 April the population rose and went to the mountains. They could not do anything against the resistance of the people and above all the women. Nêçîrvan Barzanî and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi spoke again a few days ago. Every day some plans are made for Shengal.

At the moment there is peace in Shengal. We defend and govern ourselves. The Yazidi women were afraid of guns before mass murder, but today we have the strength to fight, resist and defend ourselves.”

Şemo continued: “The road to the south has been blocked. People can't even go to the doctor. In this way, Hewlêr and Baghdad want to put us under pressure, get the region under their control and disband our security forces. But we support the Asayîş, and the people of Shengal today all stand by the side of our security forces and institutions. Let the other side lay down their arms, as we won't do it."

YBŞ and YJŞ are our defense force

Şemo said that the Turkish state is using the PKK as a pretext for an attack on Shengal: “However, there is no PKK in Shengal. There are the internal forces, the YBŞ and the YJŞ. These are our children. Our daughters and sons defend their people and their lands. We have our own defense forces, we don't need anyone from outside. We should be supported so that we do not fall into the hands of ISIS again. Instead, they all unite against us, thereby endangering Shengal. I'll say it again; we are not afraid of anyone.”

This is about “exist or don’t exist”

Şemo added: “I appeal to the Yazidis in all four parts of Kurdistan: They should preserve their beliefs and their dignity. Shengal is currently fighting for its existence. We will sustain any challenge and defeat the enemy. We are indebted to Rêber Apos [Abdullah Ocalan's] until we die. He created awareness in us and enlightened us. He and the PKK are not physically in Shengal at the moment, but we are defending ourselves with their philosophy and ideology."