“I know now that I was born in the heart of the crimes committed against me.” Nadia Murad
“I hadn’t realized how small my village was until I saw that All of Kocho could fit into a schoolyard. We stood huddled on the dry grass. Some whispered to one another, wondering what was going on. Others were silent, in shock. No one understood yet what was happening. From that moment on, every thought I had and every step I took was an appeal to God. The militants pointed their guns at us…
“If you don’t want to convert, we will let you go to the mountain,” they said. And so we went to the second floor when they told us to, barley saying goodbye to the men we left in the yard. I think if we had known the truth of what was going to happen to the men, no mother would have let her son or husband go.”
This is perhaps the hardest “review” I’ve ever written. Nadia Murad is a true hero, the definition of courageous and what I envision when I think of powerful women.
More often than not, we hear survivors stories much later than the event. Years and years pass and we as a society learn the horrific details of war and there’s nothing left to do but learn a lesson. (We hope.) In The Last Girl, Nadia tells her story. A story that matters now, and a story that is still being felt in real time across Iraq and Syria.
She beautifully opens her heart to the reader and gives us glimpses into her happy childhood in Kocho, poor yet surrounded by family and love. A simple but happy life, in her village which she never imagined wanting to leave. We learn details of the tragedy on Mount Sinjar, which I remember clearly watching on the news, so upset that nothing was being done. We learn of the fear the village felt knowing that they were surrounded by ISIS, waiting to see what would happen next. Nadia details how frantically she and her family moved when they knew they were being rounded up. She details absolute horrors. Hearing the men being shot, being ripped from her mother, and being transported to an unknown location with the other Yazidi girls from Kocho.
We learn of the absolute terror ISIS put her through; torture , mental and physical abuse, and rape. Being passed from militant to militant. Always looking for one decent human being who would perhaps sympathize with her, stand against what was being done to her, or help her escape.
She found a lot more ISIS sympathizers than she did decent, moral human beings. She was able to escape only because at the last house she was held, the militant left the door unlocked. Her escape is harrowing. And something I’m not going to go into detail about in hopes that you read her story.
We also are given insight of the political state of Iraq, and there will be no questions as to why there is constant war.
The Yazidis are a religious minority who have called Iraq home for many centuries. They have lived in periods of persecution and periods of relative peace. They have been the victims of genocide more than once. .
This book is relevant now. A required reading now. I implore you all to read this book and read it now.
We say never again, well never again is now.
Please visit nadiamurad.org
A sincere thank you to Blogging for Books for this copy. Opinions are my own.