Memorial Honors Armenian-Yezidi Ties

The memorial depicts an angel peacock and an Armenian solar cross

AKNALICH, Armenia (Rudaw)—A small town in Armenia has built a memorial honoring the country’s enduring ties with Yezidis who fled there a century ago.

The Armenian-Yezidi Brotherhood memorial was opened on Monday in Aknalich, a small town in Armavir province that is home to the only Yezidi temple in the Caucasus.

The memorial consists of several sculptures, including a peacock angel—worshipped by Yezidis—with an Armenian solar cross symbolizing eternity.

The memorial also includes three sculptures of Armenian and Yezidi Kurdish community leaders, who fought together against the Ottoman Empire from 1915-1918.

Thousands of Yezidi Kurds from Armenia and Georgia attended the event and the ceremony also drew Armenian officials, Yezidi clerics and leaders from the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches.

The event included prayers for Yezidi victims under threat by Islamic State (IS) extremists in Iraq and memorialized the persecution of Yezidis and Armenians during the Ottoman Empire.

About 40,000 Yezidis were uprooted to Armenia from modern-day Turkey during the Ottoman Empire and continue to live in mostly rural areas.

Many officials spoke about the tragedy in Shingal, were thousands of Yezidis—who are ethnically Kurdish but practice an ancient religion—have been killed and kidnapped by IS radicals.

Even though the Armenian government has not taken in Yezidis from Iraq, it contributed $50,000 in humanitarian aid to Yezidi refugees in Kurdistan.

“Yezidis and Armenians have been brothers over the centuries, and we help them as much we can,” said Minister of Justice Hovanes Manukyan.

Gazi Tahir Khaled, Iraq’s ambassador to Armenia, attended the event. Iraqi Yezidi Member of Parliament Vian Dakhil, the main advocate for Yezidis in Iraq, was expected to attend but could not because of health reasons.

On Oct. 1, Armenian Member of Parliament Naira Zograbyan called on the Council of Europe to intervene on behalf of Yezidis and other minority groups that are under IS threat in northern Iraq. She compared the international community’s “silence” on the current threats against minorities to its passive position during the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire.

Earlier, Armenian and Kurdish musicians held a charity concert for Yezidi refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan and Syria. The famous Armenian singer Shushan Petrosyan announced before the performance, “My Yezidis, your pain is ours. We know how it feels.”


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  1. edward demian said:

    Armenia needs people. Why are we not bringing them in and make some points with the international community, and repay a debt to the Yezidis that we can never repay.

    • hiedi said:

      **** Yes I agree., bring them in to Armenia.., make a big International humanitarian statement and increase the population…., absolutely ..!!!

  2. Alex Postallian said:

    Armenians,and Kurds,have been living in Anatolya,for centuries.The jerky turks(mongols),invaded the area in 1200 A.D.where they lived with their animals,under tents,fecal matter and uncivilized behavior,changed their Asian features,after raping women.. That’s history,in the rough,but TRUE…gooble,gooble. NOW we are censoring

    • Nevzat said:

      I know you to be a hyeaser, but you need to be better on the info. The turks brought kurds to the western part of the Armenian plateau in the 16th century. The kurds are not indigenous to eastern turkey. During the crusader period Kurds came to occupy the southern regions of eastern turkey(Armenian Mesopotamia). You are giving the impression that Kurds were living side by side happily before the turks invaded. Also, a great number of Armenians slept near their animals for warmth in the winter, many Europeans did also. There are many reasons why the turks are obligate barbarians, sleeping with their animals is not one of them.