Friday, March 22, 2019

The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and my Fight Against the Islamic State by Nadia Murad

This book was haunting, but wonderful.  Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman, was only 21 years old when ISIS swept into her rural Iraqi town on a campaign of genocide.

Before this she was just a normal teenager, surrounded by a large and loving family, interested in her friends and make up and planning to marry and become a mother.  Her family was religious but not fanatical in any way.

Everything changed when ISIS came in and rounded up all of the Yazidis - they executed the men, including all of Nadia's brothers that were not fortunate enough to be elsewhere at the time as well as the older women, including Nadia's mother.  The young girls like Nadia were made sex slaves of the ISIS soldiers.  She, and many like her, was repeatedly beaten and raped until she was able to escape and was lucky enough to knock on the door of a Sunni Muslim family who was willing to risk everything to get her out of the country.

The details clearly depict how ISIS wanted to strip these girls of their humanity.  Nadia was terrified to tell her brothers the truth in the event they would turn on her for "no longer being pure."  Fortunately they did not.

Nadia now works as the first UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.  And if her efforts are as powerful as her book, she is no doubt accomplishing a lot.  As an aside, the book was also very educational about the Yazidi people - while I had heard of them, I really didn't know much about the religion or the culture.  So that was also interesting.

While it's not always easy to read, I highly recommend this book.

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