HomeNewsFrom Reincarnation to Exodus — International Points

From Reincarnation to Exodus — International Points


Jundi Jundoyan, an Armenian Yezidi non secular chief poses subsequent to dozens of blankets which protect outdated relics. Credit score: Andoni Lubaki/IPS
  • by Karlos Zurutuza (ardashar, armenia)
  • Inter Press Service

At 30 kilometers west of Yerevan (Armenia’s capital), Ardashar might effectively be a daily Armenian village had been it not for the truth that most of its 700 inhabitants belong to the Yezidi neighborhood. Jundi Jundoyan, an area non secular chief, awaits IPS on the entrance of his home. At 68, he boasts that many Armenians have requested him about his ancestral cult. Jundoyan is all the time keen to clarify issues, he simply asks for persistence.

God, who can also be the solar, he explains, has 3,000 names and 7 archangels. He created the world from a pearl, however then he disregarded it. He additionally introduced Adam and Eve to life and compelled Malak Tawus, the sacred peacock (the chief archangel) to serve them. However Tawus refused: why ought to one bow to the whims of a few easy mortals? In the long run, that dispute between him and God was settled and the fallen archangel was lastly redeemed.

It is an ancestral cult that has included parts of Mazdaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam over the centuries, and which has round half 1,000,000 followers within the Center East and one other half within the diaspora.

The Yezidis, nevertheless, aren’t initially from the southern Caucasus however from someplace in northern Mesopotamia. In truth, Jundoyan explains all of it in Kurmanyi (a variant of Kurdish spoken in Turkey and Syria).

It was the start of the twentieth century when many fled to the Caucasus – together with Armenians and Syriacs – escaping genocide in Anatolia. Jundoyan remembers it simply earlier than strolling right into a room the place dozens of blankets are stacked, which, he claims, protect “treasures introduced from Lalish (his most sacred temple, in northern Iraq) and plenty of different relics.”

Exactly, the most important Yezidi temple on this planet stands a couple of kilometers from right here. In-built 2019 thanks to personal contributions it additionally hosts a set of statues of Armenian Yezidi nice males, together with that of an Iraqi Kurdish girl. It’s Nadia Murad, a kind of younger girls enslaved by the Islamic State in 2014 in the course of the genocide perpetrated towards the Yezidis of Sinjar (northern Iraq). Murad was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 4 years later.

“What did France, America, and so on. do when the Islamic State massacred 1000’s of our folks in Iraq and enslaved all these girls?” Jundoyan blurts out, shortly earlier than asking for a toast to the “martyrs”: each these from Anatolia from over 100 years in the past in addition to the more moderen ones from Iraq.

After which there are those that left. The Armenian Yezidis had been near 100,000 people within the instances of the united states, however the final census (in 2011) positioned them at simply 35,000. Those that stay attempt to survive via farming or herding.

“Everyone seems to be leaving for Russia,” laments the host.

“Hate speech”

The Yezidi Middle for Human Rights is an NGO based in 2018 centered on defending the rights of this neighborhood.

One in every of its most energetic members is Sashik Sultanyan, a 41-year-old lawyer who faces six years in jail for “incitement to hatred”. An interview he gave in June 2020 on a Yezidi radio channel in Iraq earned him a grievance from Veto Armenia, a far-right group.

Somebody took care to translate (from Kurdish into Armenian) a dialog wherein Sultanyan spoke of “discrimination” in direction of his folks. He denounced that Yezidi lands are being expropriated below authorized pretexts and that their linguistic and cultural rights aren’t revered. The Armenian prosecutor’s workplace speaks of a course of “in accordance with nationwide and worldwide legislation.”

For its half, Amnesty Worldwide has denounced an assault towards freedom of expression and the United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights is asking Armenia to withdraw prison prices they label as “intimidating.”

From his workplace, Sultanyan tells IPS that discrimination is “as actual as these clichés about his neighborhood that tv and the media repeat relentlessly”: they’re all the time portrayed as illiterate, soiled and disorganized peasants or herdsmen.

Concerning the problem of the lands, Sultanyan clarifies that “the thieves are the oligarchs, and never the Armenians, as the interpretation of the interview stated.” After which there’s additionally the problem of language. Though courses in Kurmanyi are supplied at Yezidi youngsters’s faculties, the topic just isn’t a part of the official curriculum.

Moreover, the textual content books are in Cyrillic when essentially the most logical factor, Sultanyan insists, could be to make use of the Latin alphabet, which is the one utilized by the Kurds of Turkey and Syria.

In truth, the primary Kurdish-language newspaper, Riya Taze (“New Street”), was based in Armenia in 1930, however any hyperlink between this minority and a neighboring folks, the Kurds, with a inhabitants a lot bigger than that of the nation, is one thing that Yerevan doesn’t see with good eyes right now.

“After we speak about human rights we insist that we should be alert each day. Sadly, many don’t perceive it that method. They reject being a minority as a result of they’re afraid {that a} particular standing might injury their brotherhood with the Armenians. However brotherhood can’t exist with out equality,” Sultanyan resolves.


The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of 2020 has given some visibility to the neighborhood. In that 44-day battle that ended with an amazing victory for Azerbaijan, there greater than twenty younger Yezidis who misplaced their life within the ranks of the Armenian Military.

One in every of them was Samad Saloyan. His dad and mom, Yuri and Nina, nonetheless dwell within the Zartonk, a kind of villages across the Yezidi temple. The household has turned the lounge into some type of mausoleum erected to the reminiscence of the misplaced son: there are photographs of him as a toddler, or dressed as a soldier; there´s additionally a Yezidi flag (white and crimson with a solar within the middle) in addition to set of military medals and others from his sporting victories.

“There may be nothing worse than speaking about your individual little one up to now tense,” Yuri tells IPS. Nina has a tough time getting began till a sea of tears breaks the dam and her phrases overflow.

Her son was recruited on the age of 18. He was about to graduate when the conflict broke out, however he was lastly mobilized. He survived 42 days of hell, till a bomb dropped from a drone killed him and three others.

“It was simply two days earlier than the conflict ended,” Nina repeats, caught up in a monologue that runs in a loop, however that all the time results in a useless finish: Samad is now not on this world.

The Yezidis consider in transmigration, a sequence of reincarnations that serves to purify the spirit till it turns into one with God.

However that is no consolation for the Saloyans. Solely when the tears give the primary truce is it potential to alter the topic. Do they go to the temple? Do they preserve Yezidi festivities? “Sure, roughly”. And the way has the harvest been this 12 months?

Yuri factors to the shortage of rain, there there isn’t any water and that the land doesn’t present. Making ends meet has grow to be an actual problem. Moreover, who can guarantee them that one other conflict with Azerbaijan won’t escape? Armed incidents are getting more and more recurrent alongside the border.

Nina raises her head and searches Yuri along with her eyes. They’ve kin in Russia. Most definitely, she says, they may even depart.

© Inter Press Service (2022) — All Rights ReservedUnique supply: Inter Press Service


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