Yazidi exhibition Nobody’s Listening opens in Germany

A virtual reality project using real-life stories to highlight the horrors of ISIS’ genocide of the Yazidis has been launched in Germany. The region of Baden-Württemberg, which became one of the first places to offer asylum to Yazidi women who were survivors of ISIS, is hosting and part-funding the exhibition that opened this month. 

In 2015, Baden-Württemberg launched a programme to rescue 1,000 Yazidi women who had been abused and tortured by ISIS, including Nobel laureate Nadia Murad. She became a global ambassador for the Yazidi people and was able to highlight the atrocities committed against them. Nobody's Listening hopes to raise awareness of the atrocity in Iraq in which ISIS terrorists killed more than 12,000 people. 

It will be on at the ZKM Karlsruhe in the city of Karlsruhe until January. "The Nobody’s Listening exhibition is an important way to remind people of the horrors of ISIS, but also to inspire action to ensure this never happens again to Yazidis, Christians or any other Iraqi community," Ivana Waleed, Yazidi activist and genocide survivor, said. 

The project, which was developed by Yazidi charity Yazda, has received international support, with Amal Clooney, a barrister who specialises in international law and human rights, describing the virtual footage as moving. 

Wearing a headset, viewers watch 12 minutes of virtual reality following the true stories of a Yazidi girl kidnapped as a slave by ISIS, her brother who escaped from the grip of terrorists and an ISIS fighter. It is filmed in the Sinjar village of Kojo, birthplace of Nobel laureate Nadia Murad, whose mother was killed by ISIS, and is split into three chapters: before the genocide, during the atrocity and the devastation of the aftermath. 

"Approximately 3,000 Yazidi women and children remain missing or in captivity, and not a single ISIS fighter has been brought to justice for the crime of genocide," the museum said. "The exhibition explores the consequences of the genocidal campaign by ISIS and its devastating effect on persecuted communities and their cultural heritage through Virtual Reality technology, photography, and art works by Yazidi artists. 

"Above all, Nobody's Listening pays tribute to the courage, determination, and agency of the survivors, and gives them a space where they can be heard by people around the world. Together they are one voice, calling for international recognition and justice." An art exhibition is displayed alongside the project and includes pieces by Yazidi survivors. The initiative was first launched at the University of Baghdad last year. 

by Nicky Harley

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