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Between (the lack of) access, confusion, fear, and propaganda, it can be very difficult to know if something is happening, or what is happening, to historic Yezidi shrines at the hands of the Islamic State. Initially, even to experts who were in the region with the community, it seemed that the Yezidi shrine of Sayeda Zeinab had been destroyed; then, it was doubted; then, it was debunked. Êzîdî Press had to deny three times that Quba Şêx Şerfedîn (Sherfedin) had been destroyed, to reassure a grief and panic-stricken community. Rumors and propaganda continued to circulate regarding the Shrine of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir (Şêx Adî) in Lalish.
But the situation is grave: Yezidi men have been rounded up and massacred; Yezidi women have been abducted, trafficked, sold, enslaved and systematically raped; and Yezidi children have been enslaved. It is standard treatment — a supposed religious requirement — for perceived polytheists and infidels in the Islamic State.
And a significant part of this program of genocide is the destruction of cultural property. Although the photographic evidence is not conclusive — because of the life-threatening circumstances in which that evidence was collected — it appears that the Shrine of Shaqsebat in Babire was destroyed in late August. Two other Yezidi sites – according to the Êzidî Press, the Shrine of Sheikh Mikhfiya and its cemetery and the Shrine of Sheikh Sin (Şêx Sin) — were destroyed at the end of August.
Most recently, despite its ever-growing commitment of fighters to the battle against the “secularist” Kurds, Shia Turkmen and Armenian Apostolic Christians of Kobane, the Islamic State has persisted in its genocide of the “polytheistic” Yezidis. The Information Office of the Nineveh Mandate of the Islamic State published yet another pamphlet of death pornography (highly graphic; link here), which included images of the demolition of a “polytheistic” shrine.
Even the Êzidî Press (@EzidiPress) has so far been unable to determine conclusively whether or not the demolished building is — or, rather, used to be – Quba Memê Reşan. Nonetheless, the building has distinctively Yezidi architecture – most notably, the ridged spire — so it is a symbol of the Yezidi community. And the images are not fake, so the building has been destroyed. The Islamic State is advancing its program of genocide. And now, the Shrine of Sherfedin and the malnourished, dehydrated civilians who have taken refuge there are under threat once more.
This week, LA’s new Academy Museum, the intersections of anti-Blackness and anti-fatness, a largely unknown 19th century Black theater in NYC, sign language interpreters, and more.
Titian’s paintings are masterpieces, with all the complications of the term.
Through “Historic Site,” an 8-foot-tall plaque and Historic Sight, a year-long rotating exhibition in Pittsburgh, the Black Cube Fellows investigate how history is constructed, remembered, and retold.
Lawson’s images, and the ways that she has discussed her process, seem to be actively reproducing the kind of big-dick energy power dynamics of White male artists who also claim mastery over their subject matter.
Jenkins’s new short film, the centerpiece of a MoMI exhibit on The Underground Railroad, uses his signature techniques to confront the viewer.
Romanticism to Ruin: Two Lost Works of Sullivan and Wright memorializes Chicago’s Garrick Theatre and Buffalo’s Larkin Building, which were razed to build a parking lot and a truck stop.