'The last time I saw my father he was holding my hand': Yazidi Londoners share painful stories ahead of rally
LONDON, ONT. -- At least 60 members of the Yazidi community in London plan to hold a rally and memorial at the gates of Victoria Park Civic Holiday Monday.
It’s a to mark a solemn anniversary, six years since ISIS invaded their homes in northern Iraq.
Many of them, who came to Canada in 2017, still have no idea what happened to family members under the former Islamic State.
The tale 16-year-old Faiza Qasim shares, the vast majority of Canadians could not comprehend.
“The last time I saw my father he was he holding my hand. He said to me it’s OK don’t be scared”.
But sadly, for Faiza Qasim’s father and thousands of other Yazidis in Iraq, it was not going to be OK.
ISIS had come to her city of Sinjar. It was August of 2014.
Telling her story, three years after coming to Canada, the painful memories of what happened remain vivid.
She was just nine-years-old when the black flag appeared on her street.
“The Isis came and they started attacking people. And after attacking people, they took the boys aside and then the girls aside.”
Soon after her sister, just 11 at the time, was taken away by ISIS fighters, and has not been seen since.
For Faiza a young age spared that horrific fate.
It would take months, but her mother and two brothers survived ISIS captivity, in two countries, before escaping.
It was a similar story for Eflin Aldachi, who arrived in Canada to attend Montcalm Secondary School after witnessing the loss of most of her family when she was just seven.
“Two brothers, my dad, my grandmother, all of my uncle’s. We don’t know anything about them”.
And that’s why Qasim, Aldachi and their young friends in the Yazidi community want want the help of fellow Londoners.
On Monday, starting at 5 p.m., at the Victoria Park gates, they will hold a rally. They hope to encourage political pressure to force a humanitarian search for their family members.
They continue to hold out hope that someday some of their lost loved ones, might be found, and brought to peace here in Canada.
“And get a better education and a better life, with a new country and a very good country”.