Eszter Spät: I started studying the religious traditions of the Yezidis for my doctoral thesis in 2000. I first came to Kurdistan in 2002, on the eve of the war, and stayed for ten months (until after the fall of the Saddam regime) in order to research this topic in the field. Since then I've come back here  several times. From 2011 to 2012 I received a grant from the Gerda Henkel Foundation in Germany, who suggested to make a film for their website about the Yezidis and my research. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the final result academically acceptable and I didn’t think that Yezidis would like it either. I decided to use some of the most valuable material and make a film myself. I chose the ritual, the Parading of the Peacock, because it takes us to the very core of the Yezidi religious tradition giving us a glimpse of Yezidi history and their way of living at the same time.

 

 

 

Duhok IFF: How are you feeling about your film to be screened among the Yezidis?

E.S.: I am both excited and a bit apprehensive. Travellers of the past often complained about how secretive the Yezidis were when it came to revealing details of their religion. I, on the other hand, have found that most of them welcomed my interest in their religion and tried to help me as far as they were able to. Today many Yezidis feel the need to let the outside world learn more about their religion and costumes in order to refute some totally baseless accusations leveled at Yezidi religion. I hope that my film will justify the faith the Yezidis have put in my work, and that they will feel satisfied with it. There is also the fact that many young Yezidis living in the Kurdish Region (and in the Western Diaspora) never had the opportunity to witness the Parading of the Peacock. I hope my film may be especially interesting for them and add to their knowledge about the Yezidi religion. I am not a Yezidi myself and I may have made factual mistakes, or my interpretation of some events or phenomena may differ from that of the Yezidis. This makes me a bit apprehensive, but I hope that Yezidis will be open-minded about any such mishaps and view my film favorably.