Genocide survivor urges students to take up fight against ideologies of hate

Posted by pt91 at Nov 30, 2016 01:07 PM |
The youth offers greatest hope on fight against terror says Nadia Murad who was held captive by IS

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 30 November 2016

Photographs from Nadia Murad’s talk available from:

Students and the youth are the greatest weapon in the fight against terror, a genocide survivor has told members of the University of Leicester.

Nadia Murad, who was held captive by IS terrorists in Iraq, urged individuals to fight against ideologies of hate which posed a threat throughout the world. And she said it would be the youth- including students- and not governments that would bring about change.

Ms Murad spoke on  The Struggle of Yazidis Against IS. She said:

“Today the goal of terrorism is to end peace. It is a threat to the world. Terrorists who use religion to hide behind their acts pose a danger to all us –and not just to a single community.

“The world has failed to put an end to terrorists or bring them to justice.  But I think that the youth, students studying here, can do a lot.  We need your help to stand with us – it will be the youth and not politicians who will end terrorism.

“We have taken our case to more than 20 countries and they have not done much about it- so I think the future is the young people.  Everyone within their capacity, with the power of their voice can stand up for this cause..

“If we all do our small part, in every corner of the world, I believe we can end genocide and mass atrocities against women and children. If we have the courage to stand up and fight for those we don’t know - who live thousands of miles away – we can make a difference. The world is one community and we need to act as such.”

Ms Murad (23)  is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and UN Goodwill Ambassador.  She was at the University of  Leicester to speak as part of the School of History, Politics and International Relations Public Lecture Series on the Kurds and the Middle East.

Ms Murad met President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Paul Boyle, who is a HeForShe Impact Champion, as well as students and academics. She also met with Leicester West MP Liz Kendall, engaged in media interviews and took part in a Q&A with her audience.

Professor Boyle said: “Nadia’s story as a survivor of genocide is one that must be heard. Having been founded in the wake of war to build hope for future generations, the University has a centre dedicated to genocide studies, and a deep commitment to securing rights for the victims of violence through our education and research.

“We are particularly pleased to welcome Nadia as the University is a champion of HeForShe - a global solidarity movement for gender equality, with the aim of engaging and encouraging men and boys to take action against gender inequality and to spread awareness and inspire action to eliminate discrimination against women and girls. The University of Leicester was invited by the United Nations to be one of just ten universities in the HeForShe IMPACT Champions programme.”

Dr Marianna Charountaki, Lecturer in Kurdish Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester, said: “A fundamental goal for Nadia’s Initiative is to fight impunity for crimes committed against all communities in zones of conflict devastated by global terrorism.

“Hers is a universal message and it strikes at the very core of the lecture series organised by the University of Leicester to highlight the plight of communities in conflict zones.”

Speakers at the event also included Dr Alexander Korb, Director of the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Associate Professor in Modern European History, and Professor Jill Marshall, Professor of Law in the Law School, specialising in Human Rights and Political and Legal Theory, particularly Feminist Jurisprudence.

Dr Korb said: “The lesson learnt from the Holocaust was ‘Never Again’.  It sounds so shallow if you think of all the string of mass murders and genocides over the last 25 years – whether it is Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia or present day Iraq. That is why it’s even more important that we raise awareness of cases of genocide, working and cooperating on supporting the voices of survivors.”

Professor Marshall said: “Girls and women continue to be particularly at risk in times of conflict. Sexual violence in conflict has existed throughout time but was most prominently drawn to the media and popular opinion’s attention during the 1990s conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda where rapes and kidnappings by militia and armed forces, including forced impregnations and unwanted births occurred frequently and on a systematic basis.

“I was about Nadia’s age when I watched these atrocities on TV, through the work of excellent investigative reporters, and I couldn’t believe my eyes these things were happening in my lifetime. And I’m horrified they are still happening in my lifetime.

“I sometimes think students see the things we talk about as in the past, history, and we now live in much better times, things have improved so much. But the buying and selling of humans is not confined to the history books but is happening around us in the world today and we need to do something about it.

“We need to act now.  If you are sitting there thinking ‘I can’t make a difference’, don’t believe it - you can make a difference.”


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