PADÊ Co-Chair: Resistance for the autonomy and status of Shengal will continue

The co-chair of the Yazidi party PADÊ, Zehra Silêman, stresses that the resistance for the autonomy and status of Shengal will continue unabated despite all attacks.

The self-governing region of Shengal (Sinjar) in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) is in the sights of the regional powers. Under Turkish direction, the Iraqi government and South Kurdistan’s ruling KDP have agreed to take control of the region and to dissolve the autonomous administration and self-defence structures there. These ambitions are accompanied by Turkish airstrikes on the autonomous administration and its representatives. Nevertheless, the regional powers are encountering resistance from the Yazidi population. The co-chairwoman of the Yazidi Party for Freedom and Democracy (Partiya Azadî û Demokrasî ya Êzidiyan, PADÊ), Zehra Silêman, spoke to ANF and vowed the continuation of the resistance.

Silêman reported an influx to the Shengal Resistance Units (Yekîneyên Berxwedana Şengalê, YBŞ) and the Shengal Women's Units (Yekinêyen Jinên Şengalê, YJŞ). Looking back to the year 2021 and remembering the victims, she sees a continuity of attacks on the region since the ISIS genocide of 2014. The aim is still to destroy Yezidi society, culture and religion, she said.

"Yazidis are determined to defend themselves"

Zehra Silêman pointed out that the Yazidi society has the necessary will and fighting spirit. It has never surrendered to invaders and has been governing themselves for seven years. The Yazidi community is determined to manage and defend itself, she stressed.

"The attacks did not succeed"

Regarding Turkey's increased attacks in 2021, the Yazidi politician stated, "In particular, the leaders of the Yazidi society were targeted. Seîd Hesen, Zerdeşt Şengalî, Merwan Bedel and dozens of others were killed. These attacks were intended to intimidate the Yazidi community and force them to cave in. They did not succeed. The more sacrifices we make, the stronger we become and the more we stand up for our cause. We know our cause and our enemies."

"Why are they attacking us?"

Silêman continued commenting on the Iraqi government's policy: "It is not only the Yazidis in Iraq (who organise themselves autonomously), why is the Iraqi state now attacking the Yazidi community? Why can Turkish planes freely come here and kill Yazidis? This is all the result of a plan. They want to destroy the identity, faith, thought, culture and history of the Yazidis. The whole world knows that Seîd Hesen was a Yazidi from Shengal, Zerdeşt Şengalî was a Yazidi from the village of Borê and Merwan Bedel was a member of the famous Zero tribe. Their struggle was to get the Yazidis back on their feet and to resist any form of surrender. We Yazidis know who is friend and who is foe, and we know how to protect ourselves."

"A determination hardened by pain and suffering"

Silêman spoke of a determination for self-defence and self-determination hardened by pain and suffering, and said: "The Yazidi community today governs and defends itself. Last year there were public protests against the attacks. People have developed great self-confidence. We have created great values. We will not allow any outside intervention. We expect the new government in Iraq not to take part in the murderous attacks against Yazidis. We are determined to fight to the end; no matter how high the price, we will never give in. If we do not make sacrifices today, we will be helpless against them. Surrender means dying alive. Shengal was built on the thoughts and philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan. The autonomous administration and self-defence will become even stronger."

"The attacks are connected"

Silêman, who sees a connection between the attacks on Shengal and the attacks on Rojava and Maxmur, stated: "We are aware that new plans are to be implemented in the new year. As the autonomous administration, as PADÊ, as YBŞ/YJŞ in the military field and as the women's movement TAJÊ, we all know that a new policy is to be implemented to destroy the Yazidis. The latest attacks have shown that these attacks will continue in the new year. No matter how many attacks are carried out, we will not retreat one step. We will not give up our line. Against the backdrop of attacks and casualties, young Yazidi women and men are joining the YBŞ and YJŞ ranks. This determination is growing day by day."