Should you ask a Yezidi survivor of captivity in ISIS what they want, family and dignity will be their immediate response, soon followed by “I want my voice to be heard.” By writing each week my desire is to release their voice through the work and activities that we do. It is to give them a platform to share their thoughts and opinions which are usually well developed. When I ask students to sit down and chat about an event in which they participated, their eyes light up as if to say “I have been seen and noted, my voice has been heard.”
Hosting multi-media events is a chilled out, non invasive way to release their voice. Our focus this week is on Social Media, an event we hosted inside the Garden, accompanied by art and music. I hope that you, like me, see aspects of Social Media that you would have never thought of.
“My name is Faiza and I am a survivor of ISIS. I am in favor of Social Media, it’s a great way to connect, share ideas, information and empathy.
When I was taken captive to Syria, I had no idea that such a concept existed. I saw my captor and his friends on something called Facebook, this was all new to me, I thought it was an app created just for Daesh. One day I asked if anyone could access FB, they told me that anyone in any place could create an account.
This gave me an idea. Whenever I asked about my family, I was told that they were all dead. I was told that no Yezidis were alive, only those of us who were taken into Syria. I kept quiet and waited, eventually they gave me a phone. When I was alone I downloaded FB and began to search for information on the Yezidi community. I saw camps in Kurdistan, I saw Lalish, I saw shrines, I was so happy. Daesh had lied to me, Yezidis had escaped and were alive. That gave me the ability to make connections, to let people in the community know that I am alive. FB gave me the hope to hang in, be strong, be brave. Because of FB I am alive and here now.”
“My name is Hanan and I am 15 years old. I actually think that FB is destructive. I prefer Instagram as people are kinder and more supportive there
I see the dark side of Social Media. I see the way that it consumes our lives and separates families. My painting is of a construction. I painted the F as if it were an apartment, the door is black, the corridor portrays full wifi connectivity. The first floor has two people, one walking with his mobile, one standing. The second floor is one sitting with his laptop. I didn't have to look far for inspiration for my painting, it reflects my siblings, connected to an app and not to each other.
I deleted my FB account and I intend to delete my Instagram one too as I want real life connections and to focus on my studies.”
- Hanan, Yezidi from Shariya Camp
"I am Khalida, 19 years old and illiterate. I never went to school in Shingal which, since living in Shariya Camp, I regret. I am now learning all that I can in Springs of Hope Foundation, from literac