October 30, 2014
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US Stirred –up Muslims Still Carry on Mayhem around the World
When questioned if he had any regrets in supporting Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan during 1980s, Zbigniew Brzezinski in a January 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, replied, "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"." Nonsense--" responded Brzezinski when asked "If Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today." Brzezinski was President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser
In 1977, I was somewhat puzzled when a Shah era high-powered Iranian delegation I was associated with left behind a Silver Peacock gift for me at a time when newly rich petro-Arabs gifted themselves and others gold Swiss watches. I had no idea what the Silver Peacock signified .I forgot all about it, but carried it around with me to Africa, Europe, Middle East and Turkey. Now it is with my granddaughter Tara Breuer in Brussels.
When I was posted to Turkey a second time in 1992, I learnt about the religious symbolism of Peacock (Melek Taus ) a figure of utter reverence and worship by a somewhat obscure and not so known religious sect of Yedizis /Yadizis. Although I had travelled extensively in Turkey during my first tenure in 1969- 73, the overall impression given was that Turkey's population was mostly composed of Turks from Central Asia, although when I visited East and South-East Turkey in places like Diyarbakir, Bingol, Lake Van etc it was quite clear that there were other nationalities and sub-nationalities apart from Turks; like Kurds ,Laz ( along east Black Sea coast) , and even miniscule Armenians mostly hidden in north east or in Istanbul and of course the Jews. Not all the inhabitants of Turkey are Sunnis; there are Alevis, Alawites, Suryanis and other ancient Christians. Asia Minor /Anatolia were the crucible of earlier Christianity and a bridge to Europe.
Very little material was available on Turkic Central Asia, which was then part of the Soviet Union. In fact, a prominent Turkish leader, late Col Alp Aslan Turkesh, told me that he met with Turks from Central Asia for the first time only when posted in New Delhi and invited by Indira Gandhi for receptions for delegations from Soviet Union, which invariably had members from Turkic speaking Central Asian republics like Uzbekistan etc. Turks from Turkey and Central Asian Soviet republics could not meet each other because of rigid restrictions. Many Turkic republic Soviet members of delegations or diplomats always replied that they were from Moscow.
However, it must be remembered that in Turkey's population , those who came from Central Asia is no more than 15%, the rest are original inhabitants of Anatolia/Asia Minor and of course the Kurds and others. The Central Asian Turks were very Catholic in their outlook and secular. Most of them are Alevis who are now treated badly by the dominant converted Sunni Turks. Stubborn central Anatolians resisted being converted to Christianity and then Islam and easily hid inside cavernous underground cities and moonscape like chimneys very popular with tourists in Cappadocia .They form the backbone of Islamist Development and Justice Party (AKP), now going astray.
During my 1992-96 tenure, the flow of Turkic people and information from Central Asian republics was much more .Further stay of 2 years as a journalist was helpful. Although there were some limitations, but I was able to visit east and south-east of Turkey and met with Kurds, Alevis, Suryanis and even Yedizis.
On my trip in Turn Abdin , apart from visiting some old Christian monasteries, Armenian and Greek Churches mostly in ruins , places of Suryani worship, I passed by some villages which were mostly inhabited by Yedizis. Thanks to some friends. I even visited a village of Yedizis .I even took some photographs of a Yedizi family members and inquired about their religion and beliefs. I was told that Muslims and others wrongly described Yedizis as devil worshippers. They claimed that Yedizi Arch -angel (Melek Taus) was a reformed devil...When I asked them where the religion had come from; I was told that most probably from India. Probably because of its Indo-Aryan Zoarastrian linkages.
From the top of the city of Mardin I could see miles of the plains of the valley of Euphrates and Tigris spreading towards the Gulf .It was my wish when posted to Amman, Jordan in 1989 that after settling down I would be able to hop over to Baghdad and having visited remains of Mesopotamian civilisation and Holy places like Najaf and Karbala earlier, would be able to visit north Iraq ie ancient Nineveh and Sanjar, the Jerusalem of Yazidis and other ancient spots.
Alas on 2nd August, a frustrated and cornered Saddam Hussain invaded Kuwait and instead, apart from members of Indian Mission and Indians in Iraq and most of the Indians in Kuwait, in all around 140,000 passed through Amman ,by air , by buses , cars and other means .Half of them had to be transported , housed , fed and later half in relief camps and all sent by air flights after fulfilling unnecessary formalities .The worst were the official delegations which made life miserable .They included crude rude , drunken and smuggler members , wanting 24 hours attention and hospitality and making undue and unreasonable demands from a very helpful Jordan administration . I was left to hang dry by the External Affairs ministry and the two governments of VP Singh and PV N Rao.
Watch this space.
Before the explosion in the means of commutation by books, telephones, wireless, air travel, people had curious ideas about each other. During my first tenure in Ankara, even educated Turks still thought that there were large number of Buddhists in India .India was a land of snake charmers and Maharajas .Turks in central Asia were secular and open to all religions ,some even followed Buddhism in Central Asia before they were invaded by Muslim troops and generally forcibly converted to Islam. Sufism, which has emerged from Central Asia and not Arab lands, includes many aspects of Buddhism.
Let us now turn to Yedizis
While the British encouraged Muslims in India and succeeded in creating Pakistan, in Arab countries like Egypt, London crated the Muslim Brotherhood to first counter nationalist parties under King Farouk and later against Col Abdul Gamal Nasser, as did the Israelis Hamas against Arafat .Since 1979 end there has been a continuation of Nexus between, US/UK/Israel-Riyadh/Wahabis-Rawalpindi/Islamabad which has destroyed the peace and prosperity in South West Asia, West Asia and north Africa.
Yedizis are one of the oldest of believers like many others in the region who have and will continue to suffer from terrorist activities led and sponsored by Washington and its allies.
The Yazidi (also Yezidi, Êzidî, Yazdani, ایزدیان, Եզդիներ, Езиды) are a Kurdish-speaking people who adhere to a branch of Persian religions that blends elements of Mithraism, pre-Islamic Mesopotamian/Assyrian religious traditions, Christianity and Islam. In addition to Kurdish, there are significant Yazidi communities who speak Arabic as their native language. Their principal holy site is in Lalish, northeast of Mosul. The Yazidis' own name for themselves is Êzidî or Êzîdî or, in some areas, Dasinî (the latter, strictly speaking, is a tribal name). Some scholars have derived the name Yazidi from Old Iranian yazata (divine being), but most say it is a derivation from Umayyad Caliph Yazid I (Yazid bin Mu'awiya), revered by the Yazidis as an incarnation of the divine figure Sultan Ezi. Yazidis, themselves, believe that their name is derived from the word Yezdan or Êzid "God". The Yazidis' cultural practices are observably in Kurdish, and almost all speak Kurmanjî with the exception of the villages of Bashiqa and Bahazane, where Arabic is spoken. Kurmanjî is the language of almost all the orally transmitted religious traditions of the Yazidis.
The religion of the Yazidis has many influences: Sufi influence and imagery can be seen in their religious vocabulary, especially in the terminology of their esoteric literature, but much of the theology is non-Islamic. Their cosmogonies apparently have many points in common with those of ancient Persian religions. Early writers attempted to describe Yazidi origins, broadly speaking, in terms of Islam, or Persian, or sometimes even pagan religions; however, publications since the 1990s have shown such an approach to be simplistic.
Yazidis have five daily prayers:
Nivêja berîspêdê (the Dawn Prayer), Nivêja rojhilatinê (the Sunrise Prayer), Nivêja nîvro (the Noon Prayer), Nivêja êvarî (the Afternoon Prayer), Nivêja rojavabûnê (the Sunset Prayer). However, most Yedizis observe only two of these, the sunrise and sunset prayers.
Worshipers should turn their face toward the sun, and for the noon prayer, they should face toward Laliş. Such prayer should be accompanied by certain gestures, including kissing the rounded neck (gerîvan) of the sacred shirt (kiras). The daily prayer services must not be performed in the presence of outsiders, and are always performed in the direction of the sun. Wednesday is the holy day, but Saturday is the day of rest. There is also a three-day fast in December
The Yazidi New Year falls in Spring (somewhat later than the Equinox). There is some lamentation by women in the cemeteries, to the accompaniment of the music of the Qewals, but the festival is generally characterized by joyous events: the music of dehol (drum) and zorna (shawm), communal dancing and meals, the decorating of eggs.
Similarly, the village Tawaf, a festival held in the spring in honor of the patron of the local shrine, has secular music, dance and meals in addition to the performance of sacred music. Another important festival is the Tawûsgeran (circulation of the peacock) where Qewals and other religious dignitaries visit Yazidi villages, bringing the senjaq, sacred images of a peacock made from brass symbolising Tawûsê Melek. These are venerated, taxes are collected from the pious, sermons are preached and holy water distributed.
The greatest festival of the year for ordinary Yazidis is the Cejna Cemaiya "Feast of the Assembly" at Lalish, a seven-day occasion. A focus of widespread pilgrimage, this is an important time for social contact and affirmation of identity. The religious center of the event is the belief in an annual gathering of the Heptad in the holy place at this time. Rituals practiced include the sacrifice of a bull at the shrine of Şêx Shams and the practice of sema.
Tomb of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir (Şêx Adî) in Lalish
The most important ritual is the annual seven-day pilgrimage to the tomb of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir (Şêx Adî) in Lalish, north of Mosul, Iraq. A sacred microcosm of the world, as it were, it contains not only many shrines dedicated to the koasasa, but a number of other landmarks corresponding to other sites or symbols of significance in other faiths, including Pirra selat "Sat Bridge" and a mountain called Mt. Arafat. The two sacred springs are called Zamzam and Kaniya Sipî"The White Spring".
If possible, Yazidis make at least one pilgrimage to Laliş during their lifetime, and those living in the region try to attend at least once a year for the autumn Feast of the Assembly which is celebrated from 23 Aylūl (September) to 1 Tashrīn (October). During the celebration, Yazidi bathe in the river, wash figures of Tawûsê Melek and light hundreds of lamps in the tombs of Şêx Adî and other saints. They also sacrifice an ox, which is one reason they have been connected to Mithraism, in addition to the presence of the dog and serpent in their iconography. The sacrifice of the ox is meant to declare the arrival of fall and to ask for precipitation during winter in order to bring back life to the Earth in the next spring. Moreover, in astrology, the ox is the symbol of Tashrīn.
Purity and Taboos
The Yazidis' concern with religious purity, and their reluctance to mix elements perceived to be incompatible, is shown in not only their caste system, but also various taboos affecting everyday life. Some of these, such as those on exogamy or on insulting or offending men of religion, are widely respected.
The purity of the four elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water is protected by a number of taboos, e.g. against spitting on earth, water or fire. Some discourage spitting or pouring hot water on the ground because they believe that spirits or souls that may be present would be harmed or offended by such actions if they happen to be hit by the discarded liquid. These may also reflect ancient Iranian preoccupations, as apparently do taboos concerning bodily waste, hair and menstrual blood.
Too much contact with non-Yazidis is also considered polluting. In the past, Yazidis avoided military service which would have led them to live among Muslims, and were forbidden to share such items as cups or razors with outsiders. A resemblance to the external ear may lie behind the taboo against eating head lettuce, whose name koas resembles Yazidi pronunciations of koasasa. Additionally, lettuce grown near Mosul is thought by some Yazidi to be fertilized with human waste, which may contribute to the idea that it is unsuitable for consumption. However, in a BBC interview in April 2010, a senior Yazidi authority stated that ordinary Yazidis may eat what they want, but holy men refrain from certain vegetables (including cabbage) because "they cause gases".Yazidis refrain from wearing the colour blue (or possibly green as stated in Soldier Poet and Rebel by Miles Hudson). The origins of this prohibition are unknown, but may either be because blue represents Noah's flood, or it was possibly the colour worn by a conquering king sometime in the past. Alternatively, the prohibition may arise from their veneration of the Peacock Angel and an unwillingness to usurp His colour.
Children are baptized at birth and circumcision is common but not required. Dead are buried in conical tombs immediately after death and buried with hands crossed.
Yazidi are dominantly monogamous but chiefs may be polygamous, having more than one wife. Yazidi are exclusively endogamous; clans do not intermarry even with other Kurds and accept no converts. They claim they are descended only from Adam and not from Eve.
A severe punishment is expulsion, which is also effectively excommunication because the soul of the exiled is forfeit.
In 2007, an incidence of honour killing—the stoning of Du'a Khalil Aswad—made world headlines.
The tale of the Yazidis' origin found in the Black Book gives them a distinctive ancestry and expresses their feeling of difference from other races. Before the roles of the sexes were determined, Adam and Eve quarreled about which of them provided the creative element in the begetting of children. Each stored their seed in a jar which was then sealed. When Eve's was opened it was full of insects and other unpleasant creatures, but inside Adam's jar was a beautiful boy child. This lovely child, known as son of Jar grew up to marry a houri and became the ancestor of the Yazidis. Therefore, the Yazidi are regarded as descending from Adam alone, while other humans are descendants of both Adam and Eve.
The bulk of the Yazidi population lives in Iraq, where they make up an important Iraqi minority community. Estimates of the size of these communities vary significantly, between 70,000 and 500,000. They are particularly concentrated in northern Iraq in the Nineveh Province. The two biggest communities are in Shekhan, northeast of Mosul, and in Sinjar, at the Syrian border 80 kilometers (50 mi) west of Mosul..
Historically, the Yazidi lived primarily in communities in locales that are in present-day Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, and also had significant numbers in Armenia and Georgia. However, events during many recent decades have resulted in considerable demographic shift in these areas as well as mass emigration. As a result, population estimates are unclear in many regions, and estimates of the size of the total population vary.
During the 20th century, the Shekhan community struggled for dominance with the more conservative Sinjar community. The demographic profile has probably changed considerably since the the Iraq War in 2003 and the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.
Yazidi in Syria live primarily in two communities, one in the Al-Jazira area and the other in the Kurd-Dagh. Population numbers for the Syrian Yazidi community are unclear. In 1963, the community was estimated at about 10,000, according to the national census, but numbers for 1987 were unavailable. There may be between about 12,000 and 15,000 Yazidi in Syria today, though more than half of the community may have emigrated from Syria since the 1980s. Estimates are further complicated by the arrival of as many as 50,000 Yazidi refugees from Iraq during the Iraq War.
The Turkish Yazidi community declined precipitously during the 20th century. By 1982 it had decreased to about 30,000, and in 2009 there were fewer than 500. Most Turkish Yazidi have emigrated to Europe, particularly Germany; those who remain reside primarily in their former heartland of Tur Abdin.
Population estimates for the communities in Georgia and Armenia vary, but they too have declined severely. In Georgia the community fell from around 30,000 people to fewer than 5,000 during the 1990s. The numbers in Armenia may have been somewhat more stable; there may be around 40,000 Yazidi still in Armenia. Most Georgian and Armenian Yazidi have relocated to Russia, which recorded a population of 31,273 Yazidis in the 2002 census.
This mass emigration has resulted in the establishment of large diaspora communities abroad. The most significant of these is in Germany, which now has a Yazidi community of over 40,000. Most are from Turkey and, more recently, Iraq and live in the western states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. Since 2008 Sweden has seen sizable growth in its Yazidi emigrant community, which had grown to around 4,000 by 2010, and a smaller community exists in the Netherlands. Other diaspora groups live in Belgium, Denmark,France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia; these have a total population of probably less than 5,000.
In August 2007, some 500 Yazidis were killed in a coordinated series of bombings in Qahtaniya that became the deadliest suicide attack since the Iraq War began. In August 2009, at least 20 people were killed and 30 wounded in a double suicide bombing in northern Iraq, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. Two suicide bombers with explosive vests carried out the attack at a cafe in Sinjar, a town west of Mosul. In Sinjar, many townspeople are members of the Yazidi minority.
The Salafist militant group Islamic State, which considers the Yazidi devil-worshippers, overtook Sinjar in August 2014 following the withdrawal of Peshmerga troops, forcing up to 50,000 Yazidis to flee into the nearby mountainous region. Threatened with death at the hands of militants and faced with starvation in the mountains, their plight received international media coverage, leading American President Obama to authorize humanitarian airdrops of food and water onto Sinjar Mountain and US airstrikes against militants in support of the beleaguered religious minority. The humanitarian assistance began on 7 August 2014.
Savage ISIS Attacks on Yedizis
In the beginning of August , media reported that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) which had conquered large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria , went after a relatively tiny Yazidi community has been left stranded in Sanjar region of north Iraq amid talk of "genocide" against them. As many as 40,000 civilians, many of whom are Yazidi, were trapped on the barren top of Mount Sinjar, facing a grim choice between engaging the ISIS army and starvation or dehydration if they remain.
"There are children dying on the mountain, on the roads," Marzio Babille, cried the Iraq representative for the United Nations Children's Fund. "There is no water, there is no vegetation; they are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State. It's a disaster, a total disaster."Prince Tahseen Said, "the world leader of the Yazidis," and other Yazidi leaders have been left begging for help from world leaders.
"I ask for aid and to lend a hand and help the people of Sinjar areas and its affiliates and villages and complexes which are home to the people of the Yazidi religion. I invite [you] to assume [your] humanitarian and nationalistic responsibilities towards them and help them in their plight and the difficult conditions in which they live today," Said wrote in an appeal to the region's leaders, as well as Europe, the U.N., and the U.S.
In an impassioned speech, Vian Dakheel, a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament, took things a step further. Collapsing in tears, she directly said her people were facing "genocide" and would be "butchered" unless ISIS were stopped.
"As we speak there is genocide taking place against the Yazidis," Dakheel said, "My people are being slaughtered!"
The Sinjar section of the Nineveh Province in northern Iraq.There are only perhaps 200,000 to 300,000 Yazidis worldwide, according to the Encyclopedia Iranica, a collaborative academic project based at Columbia University, and they are overwhelmingly concentrated in northern Iraq. Less than 5,000 Yazidis are in the U.S., the encyclopedia said.
This misunderstanding is partially due to the "Malak Ṭāʾus" figure's other name, which is similar to the Koran's word for "Satan," according to LookLex, another encyclopedia focused on the Middle East region.
"The reason for the Yazidis' reputation of being devil worshipers is connected to the other name of Malak Ta'us, Shaytan, the same name as the Koran's for Satan," the encyclopedia said.
These accusations of devil worship, combined with the powder keg of religious tension in the region, have left the small community of Yazidis in a vulnerable position. ISIS has a particularly brutal policy toward such religious minorities, Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.
"[The militant policy of] either convert or be killed is a very powerful message," Karasik said. "This group is going to be creating more refugee flows as it moves in different directions within the multi-ethnic structure of Iraq."
But persecution of the Yazidis goes back centuries. The Ottoman Empire is said to have slaughtered hundreds of Yazidis. In the modern era, when the nearby Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites are engaged in violent conflict after the U.S. largely withdrew its military from Iraq, things have only grown worse for the sect.
"Everyone considers us infidels," said Samir Babasheikh, whose father is the Yazidis' spiritual leader. "Sunnis and Shiites are killing each other even though they are both Muslims, so imagine what they will do to us, people from a completely different religion."
RT.com stated that extremists from the Islamic State have killed at least 500 people, including women and children. Some of the victims were buried alive.The killings reported by Iraqi Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to Reuters adds to a long list of atrocities...
"We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing [their ancient home city of] Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic State have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar," Sudani said.
The ISIL militants offer people living in territories they control to either convert to their faith or face death.
Islamic State militants claim the capture, enslavement and sale of thousands of Yazidi women and children had been ordered by God in a magazine purportedly published by the terror group.
The latest issue of Dabiq attempted to justify the militants' snaring of thousands of innocent Yazidis during an assault on the Iraqi city of Sinjar in August.
Explaining why Yazidis have been sold into sex slavery while those from other groups have not, the magazine claims Islamic Sharia law allows the enslavement of innocent 'polytheists and pagans' but not of those the militants regard as simply heretical. Tens of thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee for their lives - many of them into the nearby Sinjar mountains and then into Kurdish-held regions of northern Iraq.
However many were captured by the militants, resulting in the massacre of hundreds of men and the selling into slavery of women and children, after they were first divided up between ISIS fighters