photo: Eddy van Wessel


Saturday, September 19, 2015

So-called rescuer of Yezidis under fire

The scandal surrounding the claims of a Canadian businessman that he has rescued over a hundred Yezidi and Christian women and children who were kidnapped by the Islamic State has broadened. The families of the victims he claims to have helped had already been repaid by the Kurdistan government for the money spent freeing them.

Last week, 20 prominent Yezidis sent the Canadian businessman Steve Maman a letter requesting proof that he and his organization, Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq (CYCI), had rescued 128 people from the caliphate ISIS runs by paying a mere $80,000 in total.

In the letter they spoke of their doubts that this amount could serve to free so many people, as the sums paid per individual are much higher, and mentioned they had not found anyone who had actually been helped by Maman or CYCI.

Read the whole story here

Yezidis doubt ‘Jewish Schindler’ bought their women’s freedom

A group of 20 prominent Yezidis have demanded proof from Canadian Jewish businessman Steve Maman of his claims that he has bought the freedom of 128 Yezidi women and children from the Islamist terror group ISIS. Amongst the signatories are the Yezidis’ religious leader, the Baba Sheikh, and Vian Dakhil, a Yezidi member of the Iraqi Parliament.

Maman has recently been branded the “Jewish Schindler” after his organization, The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children in Iraq (CYCI) claimed on its website to have “singlehandedly helped save over 120 Yezidi and Christian women and children from ISIS-controlled territories in Iraq.”

The businessman says he works with local volunteers to locate the women, then pay their “owners” in territory controlled by ISIS in parts of Iraq and Syria, and get them out. Around 3,000 women and children are believed to still be with ISIS.

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Syrian refugees lured to Europe by a cheaper route and false stories

Europe is caught in a crisis it cannot contain. After years of discouraging and strict asylum laws, refugees are now traveling there by the thousands.

They want to get away from war, but at the same time they are misinformed. When I spoke to Syrians wanting to leave the relative safety of Iraqi Kurdistan, I found out they had misconceptions about the rules and regulations awaiting refugees in the EU. They had been told by those who had reached Europe that it will be easy, and that they will be provided with a house and a job.

I spoke to a Syrian mother who had taken her 6-year-old daughter with her on a boat from Bodrum in Turkey to the Greek Island of Kos, before stepping for fear of drowning. I asked her how she could risk splitting the family by leaving her husband and son behind. She was convinced that they would be allowed to join her in a couple of months and that the authorities would even pay for their ticket.

Migrants have for decades been lured by stories of an easy ride to permanent residence. But these stories omit the hardship, the camps, the long wait, the bureaucracy, the animosity, the prohibition to work whilst still in process, the negative decisions on their case to be appealed and often lost.

Yet again refugees take the same bait. Facebook is playing a major role in making this trip attractive and telling people of the possibilities, the routes and costs.

Read the whole story here