In view of the current discussion about the denigration and insult of the Yazidi people on the part of a bright star in the sky of the Kurdish music scene in the 90s of the last century, the KGD (Kurdish Community in Germany) publishes a photo on its Facebook presence that needs no more words.

Nevertheless: what can be seen on this post?

The photo, which was posted on April 19, 2020 at around 8:00 p.m., shows one of the most beautiful landscapes in Kurdistan: a paradise-like mountain enveloped by spring, from which a waterfall springs – and which bears the historically significant name “Gelîyê Alî Beg” (Valley of Ali Beg).

What is the connection to the current discussion?

While the Central Council of the Yazidis in Germany was shocked by the statements of the Turkish-Kurdish singer and called on all Kurdish associations and organizations to condemn the hurtful and inflammatory words, the KGD relativized the massacres committed by Muslim Kurds against Yazidis and other minorities such as Armenians in past centuries, saying that they were “fabricated by the occupying states”. So instead of fulfilling the wish of the Yazidis and building a bridge, the Kurds’ own responsibility for genocides is simply dismissed here and the agitation left out.

Why does this post have more than just natural landscape symbolism and what does the name “Gelîyê Alî Beg” mean?

Mîr Alî Beg was the secular head of the Yezidis. When the Kurdish prince Mohammed Rewanduzî invaded the Yazidi Sheikhan, murdered thousands of Yazidis and enslaved about 10,000 Yazidi children and women, Mîr Alî Beg, despite hopeless odds, launched a defense attempt that failed. He was captured by Muhammad Rewanduzî. Thereupon began weeks of martyrdom for the secular leader of the Yezidis: Muhammad Rewanduzî arranged for Mîr Alî Beg to be forced by force to abandon the Yazidi faith and accept Islam. The goal was to persuade the tribally organized Yazidi community as a whole to convert to Islam and bring it under Rewanduzî’s rule. Despite severe torture, Mîr Alî Beg refused to give up his faith, although he would then have been given his freedom. As a result, he was taken to the valley with the waterfall that can be seen in the photo. There the head of the Yazidis was murdered.

For the Yezidis, Mîr Alî Beg was a very important figure who was killed on a rescue mission for his people. In such an agitated situation, the post creates the impression of a threat and a show of force against all Yezidis. This is neither appropriate nor wise. It only adds fuel to the fire instead of fighting against it and promoting tolerance and togetherness.

What follows now?

As the saying goes, when God closes a window, he opens a door at the same time. A meanwhile insignificant singer, who wants to step into the public again and insults and denigrates other fellow human beings in the worst way, has led to a great chance to discuss together a topic, which is hushed up until today by many, if not all: the reappraisal of the Kurdish history and the relativization of the personal responsibility for massacres and genocides against other followers of the faith. The Yazidis, through the Central Council, have already signaled their full willingness to participate. We join this offer and offer all Kurdish associations and organizations to deal with their and our history together with us. The best example is the Federal Republic of Germany, where we will certainly win over many institutions and organizations to help with this important project.