ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The US state of Georgia has approved a resolution officially identifying the 2014 Yezidi (Ezidi) massacre at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) as genocide.
Following a meeting last week with representatives of the local Kurdish community, the Georgia State Senate passed Resolution 922, which acknowledges the Ezidi tragedy as genocide.
The bill updates a resolution first passed in 2015, which listed Iraq’s Anfal campaign against the Kurds, including its chemical attack on Halabja, as genocide. The official inclusion of the Ezidi genocide was adopted in the Georgia Senate on Feb. 26.
Elena Parent, a member of the Georgia State Senate, representing District 42, who sponsored the bill, highlighted the ongoing Ezidi suffering at the hands of IS, as she read the updated resolution to the State Senate.
Representatives from the Jewish community and South Sudan were among the participants on the stage during the reading of the bill, as their sufferings are also included as genocides in Resolution 922.
Alan Sherko, a member of the Kurdish community in Georgia, said the decision to officially recognize the Kurdish genocides was “very important.”
“If they don’t recognize genocides from the past, they cannot move forward to prevent [them in the future],” Sherko stated.
“Every year, representatives from the Kurdish, Armenian, South Sudan, and the Jewish community will be invited to be recognized in front of Capitol Hill’s House of Representatives and Senate,” he noted.
Sherko, who joined Parent and others on stage during the reading of the bill, acknowledged, “It is sad to be reminded [of] genocide, but a great day for us to raise awareness.”
Benjamin Kweskin, a long-time friend of the Kurds from Atlanta, Georgia, who has been involved in several pro-Kurdish initiatives in the past, contributed to the writing of the original resolution in 2015.
“The resolution is important because it ensures that these genocides are remembered at an official level here in Georgia,” he told Kurdistan 24. “Such a resolution brings more public awareness to these tragic, man-made events.”
March is a significant month for Kurds in the homeland and abroad, as it marks an important time in Kurdish history.
Kurds commemorate positive achievements during this month as well as unforgettable injustice and genocide.
The former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein conducted the Anfal campaign over a three-year period: from 1986 to 1989. It was a military operation that aimed to exterminate the Kurdish population in Iraq and resulted in the killing and forced disappearance of at least 180,000 people.
On March 16, 1988, during the Anfal campaign, Iraqi aircraft attacked the city of Halabja with chemical weapons, killing 5,000 people and injuring thousands more.
Editing by Laurie Mylroie