“I Can’t Dance in Two Weddings”: Marriage as an Articulation of Emerging and Transforming Fractures in the Iraqi Ezidi Refugee Community in Germany
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAs a lens for analyzing the frictions in the Iraqi Ezidi refugee community in Germany, I consider marriage as a lived daily reality, an idealized concept, and ritualized life cycle event. I evaluate the ways tensions between Ezidis and between Ezidis and non-Ezidis are enacted through these myriad aspects of marriage. In addition to exploring the particular ways these tensions have emerged, been strengthened, or transformed within the Ezidi refugee community and between non-Ezidi others, this paper argues that Ezidi refugees are uniquely situated to highlight the loss and precarity created by migration even when the community in question has been bestowed a certain amount of privilege vis-à-vis other migrant groups inside of Germany and in other countries. The numerous topics that are increasingly dividing the community include marriage rules, traditional authority structures, caste tensions, connections to Kurdish culture and politics, thoughts on the influence of Islam on Ezidism, and what it means to be a “good” Ezidi. The fractures that emerge around these topics divide the community along region of heritage, generational, gender, and class lines. In analyzing these fractures, I emphasize the overwhelming sense of instability in the Iraqi Ezidi refugee community and argue that this instability is enhanced by the political acts of the German government and the governments or leaders from back home, including but not limited to the Kurdish political parties and the Iraqi central government.
Degree ProgramGraduate College