ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Yezidi (Ezidi) author in Germany who recently won the prestigious Bachmann Prize for her book “Seventy Four,” believes the best way to preserve the history of the Ezidi genocide is through literature.
Ronya Othman, a 26-year-old Kurdish Ezidi born and raised in Germany, visited the Kurdistan Region in 2015 where she wrote her text about the suffering of the ethnic minority group at the hands of the so-called Islamic State.
In July, she won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for literature in the German language, awarded at an annual literary festival in Klagenfurt, Austria, called the Festival of German-Language Literature.
Othman recently spoke to Kurdistan 24 about her trip to Kurdistan and the motivation behind her work.
“I visited my family in Kurdistan—my Ezidi family. I stayed with them. After that, I came back [to Germany], and wrote a text about what I saw and what people were talking about [regarding] the Ezidi genocide in the media. That’s the text; it’s about the genocide in 2014,” the 26-year-old said.
Othman highlighted the long-lasting influence of literature, noting that you can read a novel 20 years after it is written and still appreciate its message.
“I wanted to have a place on paper where I can remember what I heard, and for me, it’s very important now that Shingal will be safe again and people can come back,” she told Kurdistan 24. I am also pleased “the ISIS fighters [will] come to a court, and there will be some kind of justice.”
Othman’s text “Seventy Four” focuses on the 74 genocides the Ezidi minority had survived throughout history.
During the 74th genocide carried out by the Islamic State in August 2014, thousands of Ezidis were killed, displaced, and their women and children enslaved.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Additional reporting by Shawqi Kanabi)