Qasim Shesho needs no introduction; he is one of the most respected Yezidi leaders around but he remains out of reach due to the inhospitable condition he is in. This veteran army-man is at present leading the hapless Yezidis as they come to grips with the genocide at the hands of ISIS. The Yezidi community branded by this extremist Muslim group as being the ‘Devil Worshippers’ is rallying around him as the man who rose to tackle what still seems like an unstoppable force and has now become a symbol of strength for this small community. Going by the title of the Commandant of the Yezidi Army, this man has successfully rallied 2000 volunteers who are trying to do what seems impossible, i.e., containing the ISIS and stopping next onslaught of Yezidi genocide. In a brief conversation with Namta Gupta, he speaks about himself and what he expects from the world community:
Where are you at present? When did you feel that you have to pick up arms?
We are at an army camp in Sinjar Mountain and some Yezidi boys are helping me here. We started fighting the ISIS since 3rd August 2014.
What was the situation before you picked up the arms and why did you feel the need to do so?
Where ISIS came in Sinjar there were close to 500, 000 Yezidi people who lived there. They killed thousands of Yezidis, even those who were fleeing to Northern Iraq. Thousands of Yezidi men, women, and children have now been put into the prison by them and thousands of them have been sold as sex slaves. It is my job to protect my people and since I was also in army in 1972, hence taking on terrorism is important for me.
What help do you want from international community?
We want international community to help us protect the Yezidi people. They should do more airstrikes against ISIS, also, we need weapons and some army staff. If we don’t get them in the Sinjar Mountain then we will be in a very dangerous situation. We also need money for our army.
You have come here to fight but what about your family? Are they safe?
I know my future is in danger in Iraq and so is my family’s which is currently in Germany. ISIS has its people in Europe and everywhere in the world. But I would like to thank you and all Hindus… your government because they have shown care for us and have respected us like a family.
Winters are approaching, has any help been provided to common Yezidis?
No. Situation that we are in is very bad; there are many Yezidi men, women and children out there….some 10, 000 are there (outside) so we need help.
So you are saying that no one has offered you any kind of help so far?
On this, I would like to thank PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) because they are helping the common Yezidi people but till now we have no one helping us in our fight against the ISIS. In fact some Kurds are helping us, like Masoud Barzani, but we need more help.