About the archive
The Yazidi Genocide Archive bears witness to the 2014 Yazidi Genocide, which was perpetrated by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist organization against the Yazidi (also spelled Yezidi or Êzidî) ethnoreligious group in Iraq and Syria.
Yazidis believe in an ancient, monotheistic religion that combines pre-Islamic, Islamic, and Abrahamic elements. Their veneration of Tawusi Melek, the Peacock Angel, who is one of God's Seven Angels and is in charge of worldly affairs, is a core aspect of their religion. Unfortunately, since the Middle Ages, many Muslims have misinterpreted the figure of the Peacock Angel as Iblis, a version of Satan who appears in the Qur'an. Because of this, Yazidis have endured centuries of religious persecution at the hands of Muslim groups due to false accusations of "devil worship," with the events of 2014 being the 74th genocide in a long and painful chronology.
After a series of rapid conquests of major cities in Iraq during the summer of 2014, IS invaded the Yazidi homeland of Sinjar and Sheikhan in northern Iraq on August 3rd, 2014. The jihadist group rounded up Yazidi men and ordered them to convert to Islam. Those who refused were executed in mass graves, and sometimes even along with men who converted. Yazidi women and girls were separated from their families and sold into sexual slavery. Girls as young as nine were sold in slave markets in Iraq and Syria and taken into captivity by men from around the world. Yazidi boys were also separated from their families and were trained to become jihadists. They were taught how to use various types of weaponry and were indoctrinated into IS' ideology. Overall, at least 10,000 people were killed or captured during the genocide, with approximately 3,000 Yazidi women and children remaining in IS captivity as of 2021.
Despite these atrocities, there are few educational resources available online that teach the public about the genocide. This project aims to rectify this issue, providing a digital space where people of all backgrounds can come to learn about the genocide. By providing public access to oral history interviews with Yazidi survivors and community members, conversations with scholarly experts, and written primary sources, the Yazidi Genocide Archive seeks to educate the public about this tragedy, as well as about Yazidi history, religion, and culture. Through our archival materials, we hope to foster a populace that is not only informed about one of the most recent genocides of our time, but is also compassionate, empathetic, and ready to stand against hatred in all its forms.
Seth Eislund is a genocide scholar who researches the history of religious persecution and violent ideologies. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in History, and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, in June 2022. To learn more about Seth, visit his website here.