Two Years Since the Sinjar Massacre

Today is a painful day for the Yazidi People, as it marks the second anniversary of the genocide committed by ISIS. It is a reminder of the day two years ago when ISIS captured Sinjar, which was home to predominantly Yazidis in Northern Iraq.

People were forced to swear alliance to ISIS, or they would be killed. Women and children were kidnapped and sold to militants as sex slaves. 50,000 fled into the mountains where they suffered from dehydration and starvation as they waited for international aid and evacuation. The memories from these days sit with the Yazidi people in Greece as their suffering continues.

Scorching heat radiates down on this open field, which is currently home to nearly 400 Yazidi refugees. When I look into the field today I see so many young children. Over half the people must be under ten years old or over the age of 60. One smiling child after the next calls for my attention as they climb on me, hug me, and shower me in nothing but love. I can’t help but smile and forget about the world around me as I sit with them in the scorching sun.

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We shared bananas, baby puree, and dates for breakfast. We then headed into the local supermarket to prepare 400 sandwiches for lunch. Somehow I knew this wasn’t enough. It wasn’t so much about what I was handing the people, but rather about offering them just an ounce of humanity. It’s a way to show them the world has not forgotten them.

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My mind kept trying to rationalize the current situation, but it simply could not. The UN recently recognized the Sinjar Massacre as a genocide committed by ISIS on the Yazidi people, and what do they get in return for this? Two years later and we continue to deny their basic human dignity, their basic life necessities. They continue to live from one moment to the next with little to no sign of hope for the future.

Before overwhelming myself with our world’s injustices, I must remind myself of the present moment, of the present opportunity to support these people in need. I remind myself to be grateful for all of the beauty of today, for all of the smiles and laughter, for the pure innocence of the young children. I remind myself to use today as a day to honor the Yazidi people and the suffering they have endured.

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Tomorrow is a new day. We will head North again in the morning with a car full of bananas, waters, sun hats, and diapers. I will continue to update as the situation unfolds.

If you feel inspired to support these refugees please donate now:


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