Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yazidis, first bad now good

Illustrating the schizophrenia of the blogosphere, where few of the progressive bloggers have anything resembling a coherent opinion on things that isn't forgotten after five minutes. There was a bombing in the Kurdish town of Dohuk, killing 150 Yezidis, followers of a small semi-Muslim sect. The appropriate kind of condemnation is going on of the event, but I can't help but remembering the response of Digby on "Digby's Hullabaloo" to the killing of a Yazidi girl earlier this year who had converted to Sunni Islam and married a Muslim. It was that the act wasn't due to religious strife but was an act of pure patriarchal barbarism. By not due to religious strife she meant not due to Sunni/Shi'ia religious strife, or ethnic strife because both Yazidis and non-Yazidis in Kurdistan are both Kurds. The sect was described in extremely negative terms as being a marginal sect, with the implication that these people were sort of crazy. This was reported not just on Digby but in several other places in the Blogosphere, particularly on Huffington Post.

I wrote on Digby's site that there was in fact a religious dimension to this: Yazidis had been, and still are, persecuted by their fellow Kurds because of their religious beliefs. There is no conversion to the Yazidi faith, you have to be born into it. Yazidis only marry other Yazidis. While the killing was wrong the girl in question had converted out of the Yazidi religion and married a non-Yazidi. Strangely enough, an Imam had said that the community had forgiven the girl, which was why she came back there in the first place.

So first the Yazidis are a marginal cult that practices pure barbaric patriarchal violence and now, with the five second memory of the blogosphere, they're cheered as a minority religion that has been decimated by religious infighting.

I wonder if the people who supported the first opinion, either personally or in print, and who now support the second even know the basics of Yazidi belief and history. It isn't hard to find out: all you have to do is go to Wikipedia. Interestingly enough, while Digby has written about every other topic under the sun this week there's nothing on her blog about the 150 Yazidis killed in the religiously motivated bombing.

No comments: