Prayers for Peacemakers, 3 August 2017

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Prayers for Peacemakers, 3 August 2017

Pray for the
Yazidi people of Iraq whose genocide began three years ago. Pray for
freedom and restoration of life for several thousand women and children
still in the hands of ISIL.  

How to pray for people undergoing a genocide? What can we pray for?

On
3 August 2014, Daesh (known also as Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant, or ISIL) invaded, pillaged and took control of the city and
region of Sinjar (also known as Shingal) in Northern Iraq. Majority of
the nearly 170,000 inhabitants of the region identified as members of a
unique and ancient ethno-religious group that names themselves Êzidî, or
Yazidi.  Daesh massacred around 5,000 men and took into slavery over
7,000 women and children. The rest of the people fled to a nearby
mountain where many died of thirst, hunger and temperatures reaching
above 48C/120F.

In the following days and weeks over a hundred
thousand Êzidî survivors reached the relative safety of Kurdistan
region of Iraq, while thousands stayed in displaced peoples’ camps
across the border in Syria, or on the Sinjar mountain. Thousands of
others embarked on a grim journey towards the European Union.
 
Today,
most of Shingal, though free of ISIL, lies in ruins and desolate.
Several thousand women and children that Daesh kidnapped and enslaved
found freedom or death. Several thousand continue to endure slavery and
sexual exploitation. Their relatives keep on searching for them.

We
might pray for Êzidî women, youth and children who have endured the seemingly
unbearable and hope that they may find new life, freedom, healing,
justice and peace. We might pray that the families be able to reunite
with their loved ones. We can carry in our prayers Êzidî peacemakers
who have reclaimed their lives despite displacement and unimaginable
suffering and loss, and established initiatives and organizations of support,
accompaniment, justice, and communal restoration and healing.

Yazidi girl recites a poem in commemoration of the genocide

Commemoration of the genocide and rebuilding of lives. Photo by CPT Iraqi Kurdistan 

If you would like to learn more, please consider reading this and this story published by CPT Iraqi Kurdistan Team in 2014 and 2015.

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