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Abstract

In her reflections on cultural memory, which “is based on communication through media,” Astrid Erll uses the term “remediation” in order to “refer to the fact that memorable events are usually represented again and again, over decades and centuries, in different media: in newspaper articles, photography, diaries, historiography, novels, films, etc.” Some of these events may even become sites of memory. In my article, in relation to cultural memory studies, I contemplate the genocide of the Yezidis in the Sinǧār district, which was committed by ISIS militants in August 2014 and in the following months, as reflected in four Iraqi novels written in the Arabic language. They are: Raqṣat al-ǧadīla wa-an-nahr (“The Dance of the Braid and the River”, 2015) by Wafā’ ‘Abd ar-Razzāq, ‘Aḏrā’ Sinǧār (“Sinǧār’s Virgin”, 2016) by Wārid Badr as-Sālim, Šamdīn (“Šamdīn”, 2016) by Rāsim Qāsim, and Šaẓāyā Fayrūz (“The Shattered Fragments of Fayrūz”, 2017) by Nawzat Šamdīn. By analysing the ways in which these writers depict ISIS persecution of the Yezidis, I aim to answer, among others, the following questions: What are their reasons for a literary documentation of these events? Is the iconic image of the genocide which emerges in the four novels similar to that outlined in the West media coverage? Therefore, the first part of the article concentrates on attitudes of the above-mentioned Iraqi writers to the Sinǧār tragedy. In the second part, the plots of their novels are briefly described with the focus on how the reality intermingles with fiction. In the third and in the fourth parts, literary modes of expression, which serve to create a symbolic resistance of Yezidi victims against their oppressors, by giving them voice and showing alternative realities and fantastic events, are examined.
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