Iraqi journalists look to write a new future for their country, Nebraska refugees
Genocide and sex slavery half-a-world away, reach into the daily lives of Lincoln, Nebraska's Yazidi refugee community.
Wednesday, journalists from their faith and homeland delivered a message in this nation’s capital. On the 18th anniversary on 9/11 -- Yazidi journalists from war-torn Iraq arrive in this nation’s capitol, seeking a better future for themselves and their religious minority.
"To reach out to the world, to tell the stories, the Yazidi stories," said Iraqi author Suzan Khairi.
The journalists met with Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska), confirming reports of ISIS’ efforts to exterminate their religious minority and capturing women as sex slaves.
The Republican congressman represents Lincoln, Nebraska, home to 10,000 Yazidi refugees.
Asked what message they have for Nebraska's Yazidi community, Khairi said they should not forget their roots or loved ones back home. "They should never surrender, keep up the fight, because the future is theirs," she said.
Fortenberry sympathized with their plight. "I’m… sick in the heart as to what has happened to you, and at the same time, hopeful for rebuilding," he said.
Fortenberry pledged U.S. support while emphasizing the importance of continuing to tell their stories to remain in the public eye. "This is perhaps one of the most important reasons you’re here," he emphasized during the meeting.
The U.S. has provided military and humanitarian support in the past.
But asked about justice, Fortenberry preached patience, saying it can only come after stability and once the minority group is welcomed into the Iraqi security forces and government. He said those conditions will ensure, "that the genocide will never happen again."
The journalists will visit Lincoln Sunday, before returning to Iraq next week.
They’ll do so with more assurances, but won’t be able to bring home a guarantee of additional support or this country’s freedom of speech.