Thousands of Yazidis from 15 different countries gather in Armenia to celebrate the opening of a new Yazidi temple
Today, 29th of September 2019, thousands of Yazidis and visitors gathered near Yerevan to celebrate the opening of the first Yazidi holly temple in Armenia. The temple was funded by a Yazidi Mirza Cholo, a Yazidi businessman from Russia.
According to an assessment conducted by Yazidi News, Yazidis from around 15 countries travelled to Armenia. All could communicated thanks to their common language, the Kurmanji language, called “ezidiki” by the Yazidis from the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia and Russia).
The event started with remarks and speeches from Yazidi leaders from all around the world. All agreed on the fact that this temple was a strong message of the resilience of the Yazidi people and religion. Poems about the Yazidi history and suffering were recited followed by Yazidi traditional music and dances performed by the people present.
Almost all Yazidi temples are located in Iraq, mainly in Sinjar, Sheikhan and Kurdistan. 68 temples and cultural sites were destroyed by Daesh in 2014 an attempt to eradicate the Yazidi people and religion from Iraq. Most of the temples are still destroyed to this date, despite several calls for action to the Iraqi government to rebuild the destroyed areas so that the Yazidis can go back to their homelands. A couple of temples have been rebuilt, mainly by the Yazidis themselves. A great example is the reconstruction of 16 temples by the Yazidis from Bashiqa and Bahzani in Iraq. When the Yazidis from this area came back to their homes in 2017, after spending nearly three years in IDP camps in Kurdistan, one of their first decisions was to rebuilt their holly places. Indeed, Yazidis from Iraq are used to visit their temples during religious celebrations and during their free time and cannot live in an area without them.
However, Yazidis from the diaspora don’t have this connection to holly temples and with time, forgot some elements of their religion. The opening of temples abroad, first in Georgia in 2015 and now in Armenia will help the Yazidis to reconnect to their faith. Yazidis living currently in Russia, Germany or France wish that one day, a temple will also be built in these countries.
Despite the festivities, the Yazidis present today did not forget about the 2,500 missing Yazidis, abducted in Sinjar in August 2014. To remember the last genocide the Yazidis were subjected to, a statute of Nadia Murad, a Daesh survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was erected next to the temple.