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 Yazidi refugees arrive in Toowoomba
Bill
 Posted: Jun 22 2018, 01:48 PM
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Yazidi refugees fleeing northern Iraq arrive in Toowoomba to write a new history in Australia

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-21/yazidis-write-a-new-history-in-toowomba/9889238

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This Yazidi family make up one of the roughly 100 who are settling in Toowoomba

On Queensland's Darling Downs history is being made as an ancient people start a new life in a new home.

Far from a troubled region in northern Iraq, under attack from Islamic jihadists, many stateless Yazidi families are now being settled in the regional Queensland city of Toowoomba.

"We have here in Toowoomba one of the largest groups. I think, up to 100 families have arrived," said David Barton, the team leader at refugee service provider Mercy Community Services.

This week a group of Yazidi men and women, who also call themselves Ezidi, gathered to discuss something once strictly illegal — the establishment of an Yazidi community group


"They put us in prison, tortured us did everything to us to prevent us from having our own organisations and associations," said Jan Ezidkhalo, a refugee himself and a former journalist and UN translator


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Mr Ezidkhalo is a journalist and former UN translator now helping Yazidis settle in Toowoomba

"It's completely banned to study Kurdish, any dialect, our religion is banned.

"And now we are free to do that, which is a great feeling."

From frontline reporting in the Middle East, to rural Queensland, Mr Ezidkhalo has only been in Australia for five months.

But with little or no speakers of the Kurdish dialect Kurmanji in Australia, he was straight back to work.



"It's very new for people — a new constitution, democratic law, you can choose what you like," Mr Ezdikhalo said.


"This causes challenges — when suddenly you are free to choose what you like, there will be challenges between people."

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Mr Ezidkhalo, a refugee himself and having trained as a translator and journalist, now assists the Yazidis

Sixty per cent rise in new arrivals

Over the past year, Toowoomba, in Queensland's south-east, has seen a significant rise in new arrivals.

"Each year the number of new arrivals to Toowoomba has been increasing and that's really because settlement here for refugees has gone so well," Kerrin Benson said, CEO of Multicultural Development Australia.


"This year we're going to settle about 60 per cent more people than we settled last year," Ms Benson said.


In 2013 the Toowoomba local government area declared itself a refugee welcome zone, and in August the city will host a national settlement conference.

"The reason we're settling many more refugees in Toowoomba is because Toowoomba's seen nationally as great regional settlement area," Ms Benson said.


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There was free food from all corners of the world available at a Toowoomba refugee week morning tea

History of successful migration

Toowoomba has a history of migration driving cultural, social and economic development.

From the early Chinese, to the South Sudanese and other African communities, and south east Asian and middle eastern groups who now call the region home.


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During refugee week in Toowoomba a multicultural morning tea proved a popular place to be.

The council said welcoming new arrivals was part of the city's corporate plan.

"Making sure we're a safe place. We're a welcoming place and a place that respects all those other nationalities that come to our region," said Cr Geoff McDonald, chair of the environment and community committee.

Cr McDonald said, as a born and bred local and fifth generation business owner, migration was enriching the social fabric of the city.


"We have seen already, the opening of businesses that probably one would think may not have ever opened in a place like Toowoomba - an Afghan shop selling Afghan products for instance," he said.


"That's pretty special for a community."

Mr Barton said migration was also driving the economy.


"Well to put it frankly, the main driver of population growth comes from overseas," he said


"They're our next workforce, so the contribution is significant to this region."

Traumatic history and cultural transition

For the Yazidi families settling in Toowoomba, the process is filled with mixed feelings.

For many, they have family members who have been kidnapped, killed or enslaved by extremist Islamic groups like ISIS.


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During celebrations at refugee week in Toowoomba, people joined hands and danced.

For hundreds of years the Yazidi have been a stateless persecuted minority. The bulk of the roughly 700,000 people live in the north of Iraq in Shekhan, northeast of Mosul, and in Sinjar, at the Syrian border about 80 kilometres west of Mosul.

Their religion is neither Christian or Islamic. Yazidi is the religion, and they believe it to be the oldest in the world.

They do not believe in one god, instead in seven holy beings they call angels, the most significant of which is a fallen angel called Tawsi Melek, or the Peacock Angel.

It is this belief that has lead to them being labelled as devil worshippers, bringing centuries of suppression and genocide.


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Neither young or old could resist joining a spontaneous dance party that erupted during Toowoomba's refugee week.

Toowoomba is a long way from the ridges of Mt Sinjar, where some of the new Yazidi residents were recently trapped between Syrian forces and ISIS fighters.

But the war continues and the plight of the Yazidi has not improved.


Yes it's difficult — yes we are here happy, there are a lot of opportunities, but we can't forget about what is going on there," Mr Ezidkhalo said.


For him and hundreds of other new Yazidi in Toowoomba, now is a chance for a new start and the first chapter of the Australian Yazidi story.

"So it's time to tell Australian's, about our religion, language culture so that they will know more about us," Mr Ezidkhalo said.


If you follow the3 link at the top, there are links to other 'good news stories' from Toowoomba. http://fairdinkumnewschat.b1.jcink.com/uploads/fairdinkumnewschat/lbill.gif

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scepo
 Posted: Jun 22 2018, 03:48 PM
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This does sound like a good news story Bill.

As far as I know the Yazidi's do not believe in Jihad and other barbaric practices. I haven't researched them, maybe one day I will get time to do so.

At any rate it is a good post Bill.

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Alicia
 Posted: Jun 22 2018, 05:23 PM
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Nice to see that Yazidi migration is working well.
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charka
 Posted: Jun 22 2018, 05:44 PM
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I wish them all the vbest
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Flin
 Posted: Jun 22 2018, 06:21 PM
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Yes, there are still refugees who appreciate being resettled here and make an effort to blend in. http://fairdinkumnewschat.com/wink.gif

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Phillip J.
 Posted: Jun 23 2018, 08:22 AM
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It seems as though they will blend in, while still maintaining their own thing, and not ramming it down the nation's throat!
The perfect migrant! 👍


This post has been edited by Phillip J.: Jun 23 2018, 08:23 AM

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Bear
 Posted: Jun 23 2018, 04:01 PM
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This is an improvement Bill, great post!

I hope that you are happy with the reaction from FDNC members, as expected, FDNC members have a welcoming approach to 'genuine refugees' as the Yazidi people truly are, they have suffered years of genocide that goes back to Ottoman rule. ISIL has committed atrocities against these people, Yazidis were declared as infidels, thousands of women have been sold as sex slaves and have been subjected to cruel treatment, mass graves have now been found of older women who were too old to fetch a price at ISIL's sex market, thousands have been murdered by gunshots, beheading, and burned alive.
http://fairdinkumnewschat.com/mad.gif

Their religion is neither Christian or Islamic. Yazidi is the religion, and they believe it to be the oldest in the world.

They do not believe in one god, instead in seven holy beings they call angels, the most significant of which is a fallen angel called Tawsi Melek, or the Peacock Angel.

It is this belief that has lead to them being labelled as devil worshippers, bringing centuries of suppression and genocide.


The Yazidi people are now free to live in peace, I wish each and every one of them the best - this is a good news story, thank you for sharing it Bill. http://fairdinkumnewschat.com/wink.gif

Another rep up in thanks!

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Bill
 Posted: Jun 24 2018, 02:14 PM
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All of our refugees are doing well in Toowoomba, due in no small part to the efforts of our Mayor, Paul Antonio, the Catholic Social Justice Commissions Mark Copland, and the people of Anglicare.

It shows what can be achieved though good will and compassion.

The Wagner family (Wellcamp Airport) are building a huge industrial hub alongside the airport, to process agricultural products for direct shipment to Asia, and our new residents will more than likely fill many of those jobs.

All good.

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charka
 Posted: Jun 24 2018, 03:28 PM
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Alicia
 Posted: Jun 24 2018, 06:43 PM
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That Wellcamp airport is really something.
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