By Davit Gevorgyan
NEWS.am STYLE met with journalists Emiliana Malfatto from France and Jelena Prtorić from Croatia, who had arrived in Armenia to prepare several reports about the country.
They have shot two video reports. One is devoted to chess and its teaching in Armenia’s schools, whereas the other was about the Yezidis living in the country.
In connection with their report on the Yezidis in Armenia, Malfatto and Prtorić joined the NEWS.am STYLE reporter, and they headed to Zvartnots town and then to Aknalich village in the Armavir Province.
The journalists also met with Yezidi families who had fled the war in Iraq.
And we sat down with Emiliana Malfatto and Jelena Prtorić to discuss the work they carried out in Armenia. Below is a condensed version of our interview.
How did you end up coming to Armenia?
Emiliana: I’m French, [but] I live in Erbil, Iraq, from where I prepare reports for various French editorials. My topic is mainly about the Yezidi population in Iraq. (…) We learned that many Yezidis in Armenia help their community, and we now we have come here.
Jelena: I’m from Croatia. i am currently covering the region of South-East Europe. But this topic is very interesting to me, and I accepted Emiliana’s proposal.
What is happening with the Yezidis in Iraq?
Emiliana: The situation of the Yezidis and Kurds in Iraq is grave. But the problem is ISIS, which operates in Syria as well as in Turkey and Iraq. Do you know? The ISIS militants there steal Yezidi girls and then sell them to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc. The Yezidis themselves collect money and pay to save them. The terrorists demand 300 to 500 US dollars for each girl. That’s how they live.
Jelena: Overall, all that is happening in Syria and Iraq can be described in one word: a mess. (…) In Armenia, we went to Aknalich and saw the temple being built, and recalled that the ISIS militants had destroyed the Yezidi temples on the Iraq-Turkey border.
How was Armenia?
You [i.e. Armenians] are very kind people. All those who we met helped us unselfishly. We fell in love with your cuisine, your homemade vodka, and your good mood. We hope to return in the summer, and go to Artsakh [i.e. Nagorno-Karabakh] with our new friends here. We worked a lot, [and] met with good people. There is no aggression in you; you are calm and very kind people.
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