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Who Cares About an Impending Genocide in Iraq?

Amid deafening international silence, tens of thousands of Yazidis are dying at the hands of the 'Islamic State'.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 8/7/2014, 11:13 AM

ISIS fighters parade captured tanks
ISIS fighters parade captured tanks
Reuters

An Iraqi MP and member of the ancient Yazidi religion broke down in tears earlier this week as she described the slaughter of thousands of her people earlier this week.

MP Fiyan Dakheel's heartbreaking display of sheer desperation highlighted the alarming advances made by the "Islamic State" group (formerly ISIS) in recent weeks, and the damning silence of international leaders and human rights bodies.

An undetermined number of Yazidis in northern Iraq - most of whom are ethnic Kurds and whose presence predates both Islam and Christianity in the region - have been killed by advancing jihadists. More than 200,000 other Yazidis have been forced to flee in a campaign of ethnic-cleansing and, some have charged, attempted genocide of one of Iraq's most ancient communities.

In the video, Dakheel herself alleges that no less than a "genocide" is being perpetuated against her people under the banner of Islam.

"I am speaking here in the name of humanity! Please save us! Save us!" she cried, shortly before collapsing with grief.

Some 147,000 of refugees have made it to Kurdish-controlled regions of northern Iraqi, but approximately 50,000 have been left stranded in the Sinjar Mountains with no food, water or medical supplies, after Kurdish forces retreated in the face of Islamist advances.

Islamic State forces have surrounded the foot of the mountain, cutting them off in an attempt to starve them out. As a result dozens, potentially hundreds, have already died of thirst - mostly women, children, the elderly and the weak.

It is just the latest tragic episode in the march of the Islamic State through Iraq and Syria. The list of atrocities is already long: Shi'ites and Allawites who do not manage to escape Islamist forces are summarily executed, their shrines and mosques systematically dynamited; Christians have been totally expelled from areas under "Islamic State" control, most recently from Mosul; other ancient shrines - Sufi, Jewish and even Sunni ones which are deemed heretical by the jihadis - have also been demolished.

And amid all that, the victims of the latest atrocity are left wondering at the world's indifference.

As one refugee, "Karim", put it in a recent interview with The New Yorker:

"I don’t see any attention from the rest of the world,"” he said. "In one day, they killed more than two thousand Yazidi in Sinjar, and the whole world says, ‘Save Gaza, save Gaza.’"