Today we celebrate the Yezidi New Year, Çarşema Serê Salê. Like many around the world, we cannot gather for our holiday. For Yezidis, the New Year is a holiday to celebrate spring, new possibilities, and hopefulness as nature blooms around us. Unfortunately, this year is another very difficult one for Yezidi people. So far, it does not appear that COVID-19 has had a dramatic medical impact on Yezidis in IDP camps or in Sinjar. We are grateful for that. However, our people are struggling. They cannot work and they don’t have food, basic supplies, or sufficient health services. People are stuck inside their tents or makeshift buildings. Yezidi IDP camps have always been lacking in sanitary supplies and facilities, as IDP or refugee camps generally are. If the COVID-19 virus does spread to the camps, we fear a serious health crisis facing our people. Because of the lockdown and lack of income, basic supplies, including food, are not available to camp residents like they were before. In some areas, there is the threat that ISIS is taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to rebuild and prepare for new attacks. Despite our serious concerns, today is a holiday where we Yezidis are grateful for what we do have.
Like other organizations and activists, FYF urges Yezidis to stay home and celebrate Çarşema Sarê Salê in safety and health to the greatest extent possible. FYF will be providing soap, masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, women’s hygiene kits, and some food and wellness packages to vulnerable Yezidis, abiding by WHO humanitarian standards. We are especially worried for the elderly and those who may have compromised immune systems. Yezidis will overcome this obstacle, like other obstacles in the past. Meanwhile, from the safety of homes, tents, or unfinished buildings, we wish Çarşema Sarê Salê to bring the spirit of renewal and hope to every Yezidi man and woman, girl and boy.