An incredible story of resilience, sprit and hope is emerging from the Yazidi township of Babire that is sending a soaring symbol of hope into the skies of Iraq.
After the genocide, brutality and savagery of the Yazidi people and their holy sites by Daesh, communities are starting to rebuild.
One of the most potent symbols of this is the reconstruction of the Baate Shrine, one of the first Yazidi holy sites captured and wrecked by the terrorist militants in August 2014.
It’s just one of 68 Yazidi shrines and worship places across the Nineveh Plains that have been destroyed by Daesh, which aims to eradicate all symbols of faith that they believe goes against their perverted version of Islam.
But it is one of the most powerful images of a forward looking and resilient people because of its spires.
The Baate Shrine features seven domes surmounting its roof, all of which are now restored and reaching for the skies. The picture is giving renewed hope to the local people who witnessed perhaps the largest destruction of their holy sites in modern times.
It’s overwhelming to see. After years of savage attacks by Daesh, the determination of the Yazidi people to reconstruct, rebuild and renew is joyous.
A young Yazidi named Farouq Shekh Fakhri, who was celebrating the nearly completed renovation of the shrine, summed it up beautifully: “By rebuilding the shrine, we want to send a message that we survived and won’t abandon our faith.”
Daesh may have reduced many of the Yazidi people’s holy sites to rubble, but it has monumentally failed to crush their faith not only in their religion but also in humanity. The shrine was rebuilt after residents started a campaign and raised money for the project. It has been a remarkable community effort. Everyone is involved and uniting to look to a brighter future.
Nearly 430,000 Yazidis were driven out of their homes in the first weeks of Daesh’s advances in Iraq. Thousands of Yazidi women were raped and tortured by Daesh militants who said that some form of ‘corrective rape’ would turn them to Daesh’s twisted form of Islam. There are calls for the genocide of the Yazidi people by Daesh to be formally recognised by the international courts.
The suffering and trauma of the Yazidi people is not over. But projects such as the rebuilding of the Baate Shrine are an inspiring and frankly amazing step forward from the darkness of the past few years into light.