In December 2021, both Marlene Förster and Matej Kavčič traveled to Iraq to deepen their journalistic work on developments in the Sinjar region – or Şengal in Kurdish. They both spent the majority of their stay in the Şengal region, the main settlement area of the Yazidi, in the Iraqi province of Nineveh. For their journalistic work, they conducted interviews with survivors of the genocide and with Yazidis who had fled the genocide and have since returned. They conducted interviews with representatives of various civic organizations and institutions in the region, including the structures of the autonomy administration in the Şengal1, civic institutions of the Iraqi state, and civic institutions affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK)2.
Their main focus was the genocide of the Yazidis in 2014, committed by the terrorist militia of the so-called “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (IS). Important questions that Marlene Förster and Matej Kavčič asked themselves were: What does the social reality look like today – 8 years after the genocide, the persecution, enslavement and murder of thousands of Yezidis?. How does the community try to give itself an autonomous administration with peaceful coexistence between Yezidis, Kurds, Arabs and Christians after this experience?
The two journalists were about to publish their first research results, interviews and photographs. Their arrest prevented this from happening.
1 Kurdish: Meclîsa Xweseriya Demokratîk a Şengalê
2 Kurdish: Partiya Demokrata Kurdistanê