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The Nadias

The Nadias

A Yazidi Refugee in 2016 in Northern Iraq.


It is not the first time someone like Nadia Murad was ignored by those in an institution, a city or a country when they wanted to make them aware of their experiences. Societies did not develop in an instant, and rights for individuals and within a community took generations to develop. Constitutions and modern states were born after others failed, and even then, people moved forward to improve basic rights and educate others on what being human means. In that process, we learned how to value others.

During those generations, the people that are the ancestors of Nadia Murad endured hardship just trying to survive in what we now refer to as Northern Iraq. In 2021, those who call themselves educators want to make sure that her culture, one of the oldest in the world, disappears from the world by silencing her in a country that claims to be a benefactor of those generations of rights.

Nadia Murad is the United Nations representative of the women and girls of the Yazidi people. Nadia, and those like her are the most brutalised women in modern history. Speaking up about the atrocities endured by her and her people won her a Nobel Prize, but a school board in Canada’s largest city does not want to hear anything from her. It appears that they never understood why Never Again matters. They are the most uneducated group of individuals in modern history it seems, and while this story has gone international in order to shame them into a moral position, in their own country it is not considered that newsworthy.

Should we be disturbed that a Western democracy that was built on the ideas of human rights can treat the victims of Genocide in such a fashion? Perhaps looking at their recent track record of ignoring another Yazidi refugee that was silenced by those who should help her when she ran into her torturer in a Canadian city should surprise us, but it was not a major story. A plan to create a Covid vaccine with China’s military was approved by the Government while knowledge of human rights atrocities against the Uyghurs was evident, but Concentration Camps in 2020 wasn’t newsworthy either it seems. A day that was created to recognise their own county’s past acts of human rights abuses against Indigenous children was ignored by their own leader while he went on a vacation of privilege, even though his own father may had a role in those acts. Could it be possible that these attitudes permeated into the Toronto’s District School Board when they wanted to silence Nadia Murad as well? Sadly, there are many more examples that makes those who are tied to refugees in that country feel unwelcome and unsafe.

The Holocaust Museum in Washington DC was established to not only educate others on how the Holocaust came to be, but also to acknowledge and promote education on other atrocities that have taken place in modern history. The purpose of it is clear:

Never Again applies to all victims of Genocide.

This education is important because it acts as a barrier to future Genocides. Responding by silencing victims further entrenches the act itself, as Genocide is committed to silence and exterminate a people, their culture and their lives. Its purpose is to erase history, and the educators in Toronto responsible for silencing Nadia Murad are re-victimizing all of the Nadias in every community that have ever experienced acts of discrimination and extermination. Ignoring brutality are why Human Rights Atrocities become a reality. The reason why the Armenian Genocide did not stop further crimes against humanity only a few years later is because even in 2021, some nations deny it ever took place.

This concept is so crucial that Germany decided to enshrine Holocaust Denial into their legal system as a criminal act. The German people did not all believe in the tenets of Fascism, but assuming that an education on those facts would be offensive to Germans is to assume all individuals had an interested role in the application of that Fascism. The real offense is to presume their acceptance of falsehoods. Unfortunately, some educators in Canada still do not grasp this concept.

The creator of Mosul Eye, Professor Omar Mohammed lived in Mosul, Iraq when ISIS took over his beloved city. A professor that was ejected from his university under ISIS, he secretly lead a video protest and online campaign to bring hope to the people of his city living under the fascism experienced after the takeover of Northern Iraq. He and most people in Mosul did not accept a life under fascism. Iraqis who experienced what he did are not ever going to silence Nadia Murad or anyone like her. This is true because he is a real educator and a survivor.



Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration