Two important programs for January 18th, 2022
CAEF encourages you to watch both programs
UNRWA POLICY BRIEFING
Tuesday January 18, 2022 12:30pm EST | Watch from Jerusalem
Update from Center for Near East Policy Research
Co-sponsored by the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation
In Memory of Israel’s Minister Mordecai Ben Porat z”l, who pioneered law to help descendants of Arab refugees to leave UNRWA and live in dignity
This important update on the violence and corruption within the UN Relief and Works Agency will be presented in a unique briefing, January 18, 2022.
No registration required. Watch, Learn, Act!
* Movie screening of January 1, 2022 Armed Procession Inside UNRWA camp, 1O minutes from Jerusalem
* Dr. Aman Groi ss presents: The UNRWA War Curriculum, over 20 years
* Israel’s Ignored Demands to Disarm UNRWA
* US refusal to hand funds to UNRWA schools: US-UNRWA accord requires an end to incitement.
* Responsibility of donor countries: Germany, Sweden, UK, EU, Switzerland, Japan, France, Canada, Belgium, Holland & Norway
* How YOU can make your voice heard to governments, embassies and consuls of each UNRWA donor nation
* Support a grassroots effort to change UNRWA policy
* In person, with Ministry of Health restrictions or via Zoom link:
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85026045969 Meeting ID: 850 2604 5969
THE CONTINUING PLIGHT OF THE YAZIDI PEOPLE, NEW DOCUMENTARY
On the Documentary Channel, January 18, 2022, 10pm
CAEF has always stood up against hatred and for persecuted minorities. In 2015, working with the Mozuud Freedom Foundation, CAEF was instrumental in organizing grassroots support for Yazidis, including organizing refugee sponsor groups. In 2017 CAEF assisted in the formation of Project Abraham which is now a registered charitable organization that continues to assist in the settlement of Yazidis and to advocate for the continued rescue of these ancient people.
Watch this documentary. Get involved, Tell the Government to do More
The nightmare began the day of August third, 2014. ISIS militants attacked the Yazidis in their millennial – old homeland in northern Iraq. Thousands of men and older women were killed on the spot. More than 360,000 were displaced in a matter of days. Some fifty thousand fled to Mt. Sinjar, the holy place of the ancient Yazidi people, with just the clothes on their backs. Thousands of women and young girls, some as young as nine, were raped repeatedly, sold as sex slaves and passed around to ISIS fighters.
Although the carnage was seen by horrified viewers on television, and the UN declared it a genocide, no one helped. Their suffering continues, even after the defeat of ISIS. Thousands remain in squalid refugee camps lacking food, water and heat. Daily they risk their lives, fleeing to Greece on rubber boats. Many have drowned. Nearly 3,000 remain in captivity, their fates unknown. Oppressed, enslaved, forgotten -this is their little known story.
Forgotten on Sinjar: A Story of Survival, is an extraordinary documentary, by Israeli-born, Toronto-based filmmaker, Igal Hecht. It takes us inside the aftermath of the genocide and follows the lives of the survivors today. It is filmed in a refugee camp in Greece; also in Germany and Canada, where too few have finally found safety and asylum. Emma Broyan, an attractive Yazidi woman with expressive, sad eyes, who has given up everything and moved to Greece to help her people, guides us throughout the film.
Through the lens of talented videographer, Israeli Leor Cohen, we view the hardships of living in the Greek DP camp. Rows of white tents, sprawled on barren stony earth is home to hundreds of families. Particularly poignant are the children, talking about memories of ISIS, the deaths, and their life today in the camp. Cohen’s blunt use of close ups of the children are vivid and moving.
In the summer of 2015, a Montreal businessman and father of six, Steve Maman, launched a campaign to save girls and women from the hands of the Islamic State militants, raising several hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for the release of the captives. He is shown in the film at the Lesbos refugee camp in Greece. Maman who comes from a Sephardic Jewish family, draws parallels to the Holocaust “except in the Holocaust they would burn bodies of people that were already dead; here, they’re actually burning them to kill them.” He and his organization also helped get many Yazidis to Germany.
In Germany, where 11,000 Yazidis have found refuge, we meet Bayam, a young Yazidi woman who escaped ISIS, who tells her story. “They handcuffed the men and old women and killed them. The Kurdish forces that were supposed to protect us, vanished. That night they took us to Mosul. I was with my mother, but after 15 days, they separated us. They took me to Raqqa in Syria. They were raping and selling us between each other. They did dirty things. We were serving them, taking care of their kids, and cleaning their houses. They were marrying us and saying “You are Yazidi infidels.” She was bought and sold 12 times in her one year and three months of captivity. “This will stay with me until I die. I will not be happy. My happiness is over,” she said quietly.
Her eyes lit up when told the crew was Canadian and mostly Jewish. She says she was saved by Jews from Canada, referring to Steve Maman.
Toronto is the base today of Sheik Mirza Ismail, Chairperson of Yazidi Human Rights Organization International. Tall, bearded, soft spoken, he is relentless in his efforts to rescue and help give his people new lives. We see him first at a demonstration for Yazidis in downtown Toronto dressed in his white official garments. “Canada has brought in more than 50,000 Syrians because of the civil war there and just a couple hundred Yazidis. But the Yazidis have faced genocide and are on the edge of total annihilation,” he said in an interview with me. He implores the government to at least give equal rights to the Yazidi refugees. “They’ve lost everything and for many that includes their loved ones that are still missing, still being bought and sold in sex slave markets.
The demonstration, and many others, were organized by Renanah Gemeiner, cofounder of Canadian Jews and Friends for Yazidis. She likens the Yazidi tragedy to that of the Jews in the Holocaust--persecuted and killed for simply being Yazidis and abandoned by the world. “If all of us would stand up and oppose evil these tragedies would never happen,” she said.
Canada is stunningly deaf and blind to the fate and future of the Yazidis and the other persecuted minorities of northern Iraq - Christians, Shiites, Mandeans, Bahai. The government has officially declared that the Yazidi people were the target of genocide. According to international law, when a government has declared a genocide of a people, they have an obligation to ensure their safety.
Thus far, over 55,000 Syrians have been airlifted to Canada; but only a few hundred Yazidis. While Germany has taken in 11,000 in one year.
Forgotten on Sinjar: A Story of Survival, will premiere on the Documentary Channel, January 18, at 10pm.
By Doris Straub Epstein