The Yazidis of Volvi Or Barfi’s Lament

Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

SolidarityNow presents the new short film video for Yazidis women

who live in the Volvi Accommodation Scheme

Barfi is a 65-year-old woman and is the eldest woman in the small community of Volvi; currently, Volvi is the area where 200 Yazidis live. Everyone respects her. She always wears white clothes, the traditional costume of her people. Barfi is a Yazidis, from the village of Sinjar in Iraq. For the last 1.5 years, she has been living in the Volvi Accommodation Scheme along with her family.

SolidarityNow collaborates with the photojournalist Giorgos Moutafis and documents the story of Yazidis; the persecutions and tortures that have historically been through over the years, the longing for their lost home, and their relentless hope of returning someday back to their lost paradise – when all these have come to an end.

Yazidis are a Kurdish ethnic-religious minority, approximately 700,000 worldwide, with the largest number living in northern Iraq. Yazidis have managed to maintain national cohesion and solidarity despite persistent persecutions, the more than 70 genocides and the long-term oppression suffered by different regimes. Since 2014 they have been systematically persecuted by ISIS and various extremist groups. Still, they have managed to maintain their faith and culture, suffering, of course, the consequences.

In this short video presented by SolidarityNow, Barfi becomes the voice of Yazidis; her voice is the means that narrates the sorrows; not only her personal sorrow but the ones of her people. And she does that in a heart-breaking way. It is the voice of a mother who carries the memories of a place where her children grew up and no longer exists.

 Barfi sings a song in her mother tongue. Her song is not an ordinary one. It’s an improvised lament. Her words evoke her memories and her pain. This song is dedicated to her people and her lost homeland.

“Our Sinjar was a star in the seventh sky

and a storm destroyed it.

ISIS kidnapped our women, burned our children and hung their heads on the doors.

Young children were left alone without protection.

Our men went to fight, leaving us alone.

Why they don’t leave us to live in peace to regain happiness.

I stand in front of this place.

I look at the people who take care of their children, sitting in front of the fire and weep nostalgically for Sinjar.

I cannot rest and sleep until dawn.

I am seating on a rock, waiting to see Sinjar again.”

Since May 2017, SolidarityNow is supporting Barfi and the whole Yazidis community at Volvi Accommodation Scheme through the Blue Dots program**. Through this program, more than 4.400 children, women and other vulnerable groups have found a safe space on various sites all over Greece.

  • Watch the video here and listen to Barfi, the 65-year-old Yazidi from Sinjar, Iraq, singing a lament for the lost homeland.

*The organization Iliaktida is managing the Volvi Accommodation Scheme along with UNHCR’s support, through IATAP.

 **The Blue Dots Program is implemented by SolidarityNow, supported by UNICEF and funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations /ECHO.