Yazidiat and bloodshed in Syria


Aminah Qureshi

The issue of oath of allegiance upon succession has not ceased to unmask Yazids and reveal their true colours. The complexity of such predicaments has always demanded and ended in a sacrifice like that offered by Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). The oppression has never really come to a halt and still continues to surface every now and then in different stretches around the globe in the name of nationalism, sectarianism, incumbency and usurpation. Every single time, there is a party comprising the ruler’s followers and admirers and another consisting of his opponents and resisters. The adversaries claim the potentate to be misguided and tyrannous, while the allies eye him as a non-partisan, scrupulous leader. It is always a battle between monarchy and consultative form of governance. It is always Yazid versus Imam Hussain (RA) and his family. It is always about us endorsing Imam Hussain (RA) and the stand he took against despotism, but none of us has the courage to admit that it is still the ‘Yazidiat’ that is unflaggingly prevalent.
We all know about the Syrian conflict and the alarming rise in the number of people being barbarically bombed and put to death, but do we really know about the civil war, its causes and possible outcomes? The revolutionary wave of nationalism that kindled around 2011 as a result of vexation with the ruling governments and their authoritarianism did not end there and then. One such conflict arose in Syria that demanded democratic reforms, and led to anti-Assad protests. The emergence of ISIL, its conflict with other rebel groups such as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), involvement of superpowers that made the armed conflict to be claimed as a proxy war, US airstrikes and Bashar al-Assad’s official request to carry out air strikes against ISIL and the FSA has led to the slaughter of approximately 0.5 million humans, along with the spread of several infectious diseases.
The real trauma being wielded on Syrians was hidden from me until I saw a picture of a placard that said “Help Syrian refugees. Give to our disaster relief fund.” I am still unable to forget the dust-covered face of a toddler in the poster. I cannot help envisaging the boy being recovered from the rubble and someone photographing the moment when the boy’s tears had reached the right side of his face just over the cheekbone. Was the sole function of those tears to implore people to donate? Was the worth of those tears to be determined by the value of money donated? Do we all have enough moral sense to feel the wetness of the boy’s eyes, or are we still occupied in making ourselves bleed to mourn Hazrat Imam Hussain’s (RA) children’s sacrifice in which they were rendered incapable of shedding tears?
Ali Asghar (RA), the six-month-old son of Imam Hussain (RA), was hit and killed by an arrow aimed at his throat. Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian refugee, was found dead face-down on a beach in Turkey.
Fatema Sughra (RA), the eight-year-old daughter of Imam Hussain (RA), was left in shock upon hearing about her father’s martyrdom. Omran Daqneesh, an ash-covered five-year-old Syrian boy, was filmed traumatised after being pulled out of rubble that was his home just a moment before the deadly airstrike.
Sakina (RA), the four-year-old daughter of Imam Hussain (RA), ran to the battlefield screaming for her father and was found sleeping on his chest by her aunt Bibi Zaynab (RA) at night. Ayah was also found calling for her father in a hospital after a Syrian government air strike turned her home in Homs into absolute wreckage.
I am not criticising the country and its officials for their behaviour, perception and contribution towards this unrest, but I am also not endorsing it. I am not here to vindicate any one pan of the balance with my support, facts and figures; there are many other people who are doing this job very well. This article has been written plainly in the wake of realisation of how ignorant we all are to the existence and expiration of thousands of lives. There are several footages available all over the Internet that show traumatised Syrian migrants being shot and beaten to death while crossing borders, and bleeding children being dug out from heaths of debris. I am not here to tell you the difference between black and white. I am, however, convinced it is high time that we assigned a priority to our inclinations and predilections as per the human instinct. With only 30 doctors left in Aleppo and two big hospitals of the city subtracted from the minuend, the volunteering civil defence organisation we have lately heard about as White Helmets is trying to save the maximum possible lives in limited time after each air strike. As the head of the organisation, Raed Saleh puts it, chlorine-filled barrel bombs are the biggest threat to Syrians. Although they have been successful in saving over 62,000 people, yet they have to choose between the seriously injured and those with more chances of survival owing to the limited capacity and resources they have during rescue operations.
The neutral and unarmed volunteers of White Helmets also help in repairing and securing damaged buildings and providing relief in harsh weather conditions. It may continue to be accused of being an agitprop of Western countries, the tears these freehearted souls shed while rescuing children and providing them primary medicament cannot be a mere act of dramaturgy. All those weeping children who cannot stop hugging their nurses while being treated can simply not be a staged play. It has been several years of agony, innumerable incidents of bombings and migration of millions of refugees. The loss of innocent lives is something that is common in all these, and it must not be simply barred from our attention and consideration. We cannot become deaf to the cries of the sufferers; we cannot zip our mouths and not utter a single word in the approbation of their sacrifices. If we remain silent even now, despite having known all about their persecution, we will prove ourselves equivalent to the people of Kufa. If we do not realise the truth behind this hunger for power and the cost being paid by the denizens of Syria, we will never be able to enlighten ourselves with the spiritual awareness of Husainiat. We will continue to rot in the darkness of Yazidiat, forever and a day.