Memorial ceremony at the grave of Zeki Şengali

Two years after the death of the Yezidi politician Zeki Şengali, a memorial ceremony has taken place at his grave in the region of Shengal in Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq).

Two years ago Zeki Şengali (Ismail Özden) was killed in a targeted Turkish drone attack in Shengal. A large memorial service was held today at his grave in the Şehîd Berxwedan û Şehîd Dilgeş Cemetery of Martyrs.

The event, organized by the Council of Martyrs’ Families in Shengal, began with a military ceremony to honor the achievements of the Yazidi politician. Şengali was a member of the Shengal Yazidi Coordination and the KCK Executive Council. After the military ceremony, the people went to the grave and laid flowers together with fighters from the defense units YBŞ/YJŞ (Shengal Defense Units/Shengal Women’s Units).


Who was Zeki Şengali?

Zeki Şengali was fatally wounded on August 15, 2018 in an air raid by the Turkish army. The attack on the vehicle of the Yazidi Kurdish politician occurred on the way back from a memorial service in the village of Kocho. The village had been almost completely wiped out by the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) on August 15, 2014.

Zeki Şengali, who is affectionately called Mam (Uncle) Zekî by the Yazidi population, was born in 1952 in the province of Batman in Northern Kurdistan. The repression and oppression in Turkey drove many Yazidi Kurdish families to flee. So did also the family Özden, who went to Germany in 1969.

Zeki Şengali became involved early on in the Kurdish freedom movement, which he joined in 1987. Because of his political work, he was in German custody for a time from 1990. Despite the oppression and threatened danger, Şengali did not compromise. His revolutionary personality impressed many people. Mam Zeki's son Qasim Özden (Sipan) and his niece Xanê Esmer Demir also joined the Kurdish freedom movement and died in the guerrilla fight.

In 1999 Şengali made the decision to go back to Kurdistan. After arriving there, he first went to Êzîdxan, the land of the Yazidis in Southern Kurdistan. In Shengal, Shêxan and many other places he worked for the organisation of the Yazidi population. When the "Islamic State" attacked Shengal on August 3, 2014, Mam Zeki returned there and participated in the development of its own autonomous structures as a member of the Shengal Yazidi Coordination.