8 days in the mountains – a journey to the dead end

Aug 10, 2020 | Stories of survivors

On the 6th of August, six years had passed since the genocide carried out by ISIS against the Yazidis in Sinjar.

That day will forever be remembered as one of the most tragic days for the entire Yazidi community. A community of merely several hundreds of thousands of people. A community no one fights for. There were neither protests nor remembrance marches. I have found only two mentions about it on the internet.

The text below was sent to me by a young man who on the 3rd of August fled the bloodthirsty bandits. He asked not to publish his image and personal details. But he wanted the story that will forever stay in his memory to be shared with others.

Sunday, 7:30 am

When ISIS attacked, we had to leave our house. We walked towards the Sinjar Mountain. My 94-year-old grandmother’s leg was broken. We took turns carrying her to the foot of the mountain. Further on it was very steep, so we were forced to stop. The rest of the family continued climbing up. My cousin and I stayed with my grandmother. We didn’t have much water, and the temperature was reaching 50 degrees Celsius. Soon ISIS arrived. My cousin and I hid behind a stone. We watched the terrorists murdering our grandmother. We hardly kept ourselves from screaming. When they were gone, with tears in our eyes we left to join the others.

The second day in the mountains

We were on the way to the top. Everyone was tired. Children were crying with hunger and thirst. We were a group of 23 people. Apart from my family, there was also a family of my cousin and uncle, an aged and ailing man. My cousin and I were the only persons able to go and find some food and water. I was 22 at the time, my cousin was 5 years younger, and all the rest were less than 15. Going down the mountain was very dangerous, but we had no other choice.

The third day in the mountains

We were getting ready to go to the other side of the mountain to search for some water and food. ISIS started firing mortars at us. My younger brother and uncle got injured. They were bleeding hard. We had to continue climbing up. We had nothing to dress the wounds of the injured. Terrified women and children were crying.

The fourth day in the mountains

A group of refugees walked past us. They shared their food and water with us. They also helped us to dress the wounded. They used their own clothes to stop bleeding. When fleeing, we only managed to take with us what we wore.

The fifth day in the mountains

We were slowly moving up. At some point, my uncle fell to the ground. He had no strength left to keep going any further. My cousin and I decided to carry him to the top. We left the rest of the group behind. We told them to wait for us. We were climbing up for three hours taking turns in carrying uncle on our backs. Finally, we managed to find water. I told my cousin to stay with my uncle and I went back to the others. When I reached the spot where we left them, there was no one there.

The sixth and seventh day in the mountains

For the next two days and nights, we were trying to find our relatives. Hunger and thirst were unbearable. We were utterly exhausted. We wanted to cry, but we had no strength to do that.

The eight day in the mountains

With the last ounce of strength, we reached Sharfadin, the holy place of the Yazidis. We were convinced that our relatives were killed. The sun was shining high in the sky. I noticed their silhouettes in the distance. I couldn’t believe that it was my family. It seemed like an illusion. My eyes filled with tears. I ran to embrace them. There were other people with them as well. We set off towards Syria where transport was waiting for us to take us to Kurdistan.

The camp

For six years we have been living in a camp for internally displaced people. Our tragedy has not ended yet. Children die of malnutrition. Sanitary conditions are catastrophic. Electricity is provided for only several hours a day. The tents we live in are flooded in the winter and dance on the wind in autumn. We bathe, cook, and eat in the same tent. Even though I’m a university graduate and I speak English well, I am unable to find any job.

There is no hope in us.

We do not believe in anything anymore.

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