This article was published by The Economist on 13 November, 2013
SINCE far back in time Yazidis have gathered every year at Lalish, a village in Iraqi Kurdistan, to celebrate the Feast of Assembly, their faith’s most important annual rite. Yet this year the minority’s conical temples and tombs stood empty. Even Baba Sheikh, the Yazidis’ leader, was too afraid to attend the seven-day festival.
A recent upswing in violence has pushed Iraq’s monthly death toll close to 1,000. The region around the capital, Baghdad, has borne the brunt of the carnage. But attacks have also increased in the relatively peaceful Kurdish autonomous region in the north, where much of Iraq’s Yazidi community of 70,000-300,000 lives.
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