Sinjar, My Soul, To You I Belong

Iraq, 2021

Sinjar, my Soul 

To you I Belong

My blood is a Sacrifice

And in You, Healing

Emad Bashar‚ Belonging, 2015


Sinjar, a desert-like region centered around a vast mountain in Northern Iraq is the homeland of the Yezidi people and has been a traditional stronghold for the ethno-religious minority due to its remote position. Persecution and resistance have been part of the Yezidis’ fate ever since, but with a brutal genocidal attack by the so-called Islamic State on August 3, 2014, their destiny was brought to the world’s attention. Many shrines mark this rugged upland as sacred in its entirety. The ambush thereby did not only try to destroy all religious traces, but also to erase the past and future of a whole community. As a culture relying heavily on oral history, the Yezidis always found their strength in their own stories, poetry, songs and rites, something no-one can take away and which will be continued to be passed on to the ones to come.

Today buildings lie still in ruins, streets are mostly empty and many people continue to live in camps or fled to other countries. The power tussle that has emerged in the region which is still heavily marked by war merged into a fight for supremacy by different parties. Yezidis not only have to deal with a collective trauma but also with a difficult economic situation in a destroyed country and with the fear of an anew strengthening of a terrorist organization that intended to wipe out a whole community.

The goats