Read ePUB The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic StateAuthor Nadia Murad –

4.5 harrowing, dignified, unfathomable stars 2018 Honorable Mention Read Nadia Murad s story is not unusual and in many parts of the world is quite common Most of us here in the West and much of Europe are currently cocooned from the ATROCITIES that occur daily in our world We complain about the price of hydro, extramarital affairs, ADHD treatments and poor service in the restaurant In fact, in a funny way, this helps us survive and live life day to day However, it does not help much of the world that is not only being oppressed but assaulted, tortured, killed, raped, maimed Most of us have not experienced seeing most of our family shot dead, our homes purposefully burned, our bodies being violated frequently and violently Being treated like a slave, dehumanized, mocked, our souls stomped on Nadia Murad was raised in a village in Northern Iraq near Mount Sinjar She had a very poor but happy childhood with many siblings and half siblings and a fierce and loving mother that did her best to provide for her children after her husband favored another wife and spent most of his attention and love on that family Nadia is a Yazidi, a small nation of people that follow a faith that originated in the 12th century For many centuries they have lived an uneasy peace with their Zoroastrian, Christian and Muslim neighbours The Kurdish people have been mostly protective of them and in fact have tried to help them to a great degree by this recent genocide by the ISIS group that is fighting in Northern Iraq, Syria and Kurdistan Nadia Murad describes in the first part of the book what it means to be Yazidi She describes the social structure, normative rules, the deep faith and living in harmony with the land and each other Although a very patriarchal system, the women are treated with respect and love although holding much less power than the men Nadia loves make up, hair, her mother, her brothers She is simple and caring but also fiery and protective She is intensely likable and you want to teach her how to jump rope and laugh at her silly jokes Nadia Murad and her family lived in false hope that ISIS would leave their poor little village alone They were not prepared for the extermination of all the men, the kidnapping of the boys trained to be human shields in the fundamentalist war The girls and women are passed around and treated like sex slaves and assaulted physically, emotionally and sexually over and over and over again Nadia Murad goes into detail about her time in captivity and her escape and finally into her life s work as a human rights activist and raising awareness of the recent genocide of the Yazidi people Nadia Murad survived but just barely Most of her large family was killed, maimed or brainwashed.I am immensely impressed how Nadia Murad deeply knows her worth as a woman, as a human and as a devout Yazidi She is able to express her feelings as they occur and feels no shame for her rage and does not feel heroic or martyrlike despite her horrendous suffering This is an incredibly difficult read even for me who for a number of years worked intensely with a small group of individuals who were victims of torture in a number of totalitarian regimes throughout the world We need to beaware of not just of the Yazidis but other groups of people that are being tortured and annhilated throughout our world I am loath to say this but we are the most destructive and cruel species in God s beautiful world Ms Murad thank you for sharing your pain, your narrative and letting the rest of the world know what is happening to your nation and faith Forinformation on the Yazidi situation please visit the organization Ms Murad currently works for Sometimes it is just hard to fathom all the evil in this world The lengths people will go through, the horror they will inflict on others, for power and creating fear in my view, but claiming it is in the name of religion Such clear writing, such a heartbreaking story, a story that is happening not just in Iraq but in other parts of the world now, and it seems always somewhere This is Nadia s story, but also the story of her family, her village in Northern Iraq, her culture and beliefs as part of the Said community Torn apart, murdered, abused by ISIS, friends, family gone, girls taken used and traded sexually abused as slaves.Yet she rebels in small ways, trying to keep something of herself intact She is a fighter, manages to do what others could not, live to tell the world her story, write her story, make it known to all, what she and her people have suffered I admire her greatly and though this is a tough read in places, it is a necessary one, we who live in this world have a responsibility to witness events such as these To at least, even if we haven t the power or means to change nor stop these things from happening, we can at least say, I can hear you.Maps and beautiful pictures of the family she once had are included in the book The map proved very helpful. Q More than anything else, I said, I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine c Horror fic writers have nothing on our contemporaries This is a story to illustrate it a story of a girl who went through true horrors and miraculously lived to tell us about it We are supposed to be living in an enlightened and modern and advanced and educated and informed world And it all amounts to nothing, since most vulnerable people out there remain just that, vulnerable, and fall victims while we go on thinking just how great our modernity is Newsflash it isn t It isn t even all that modern, since in this book we can get a tiny and very redacted and sanitised glimpse of horrors, very ancient ones at that Instead, it s plain scary that our supposedly postindustrial and humanistic and diverse and democratic and altogether oh so very enlightened world has allowed such thing from hell as DAESH to happen to our contemporaries Including young and defenceless girls who have pretty much nowhere to run Like Nadia.And the DAESH surely didn t rise from some God cursed sand in some God forgotten desert, on their God forsaken own I m not naive enough to believe that There s no Petri dish anywhere, which would produce grown religious fanatic fighters on its own, without any external input And the religion is probably only one of the ingredients here, since, well, many people of Islam are peaceful Seriously, someone somewhere obviously believes it worthwhile to pay for DAESH weapons, to teach them to fight, maybe even to fight alongside them Of freaking course, what ever could go wrong with a bunch of armed militants going around, running slave markets, casually killing and otherwise conquering women, children, mature people and everyone else Otherwise, these SOBs would ve already long since ran out of resources, since they don t do much business or, say, agriculture or create modern weapons or do pretty much anything that could have kept them supplied with weaponry they rely upon So, WHAT THE HELL This world must be sick The language of writing is simple and unaffected which makes the tale eventouching and heartbreaking This book can be split into the BEFORE and the AFTER Such a loving and tranquille and even a bit bucolic setting of the life BEFORE however hard it was, one can feel the author s nostalgia for what once was and what cannot be recreated AFTER against the crescendo of sorrow and pain and hurt and all the horror of the AFTER Our world should not contain such AFTERs We should not allow such things to happen on our planet This book should make us all angry and full of shame that we stand and watch genocide and worse, much WORSE, unthinkably WORTH and do nothing or extremely little.I don t think many of us can even begine to imagine the depth of horror that has happened to all these victims Even after reading this book, I don t expect we still could be able to understand it all One can only hope that this mission and support and faith and God will help Nadia and give her strength to continue in this uneven struggle and maybe, just maybe, there will eventually be the ultimate last girl to have endured such dreadful horrors PS Some fellow readers are feeling it their civic duty to inform me that DAESH is an Islamic group While I know that, I also have read the book and paid close attention to the author s take on religion Nadia is very cautious about her views on Islam and makes it clear that her village has had lots of peaceful interaction with Muslims And while not one of them or of anyone else came forward to help her fellow villagers in the time of dire need, and while the religion is obviously a sore point for most sides involved in this horrible crisis, Nadia is very gracious about Islam And I respect this point of view and I don t particularly care about religious hate comments messages The author, even after all the torments, understands that this war is not exactly about religion but rather of a perversity of it, and that anything can be distorted into horror, if someone applies to it If Nadia can be this gracious, the commentators are advised to do their own work on their own empathy somewhere in private Q Our faith is in our actions c Q It was a simple, hidden life c Q I don t know why God spared me, he said But I know I need to use my life for good c Q The slave market opened at night c Q Along with the farmers, the kidnappers took a hen and a handful of her chicks, which confused us Maybe they were just hungry, we said to one another, although that did nothing to calm us down c Q As lucky as I am to be safe in Germany, I can t help but envy those who stayed behind in Iraq My siblings are closer to home, eating the Iraqi food I miss so much and living next to people they know, not strangers If they go to town, they can speak to shopkeepers and minivan drivers in Kurdish When the peshmerga allow us into Solagh, they will be able to visit my mother s grave We call one another on the phone and leave messages all day Hezni tells me about his work helping girls escape, and Adkee tells me about life in the camp Most of the stories are bitter and sad, but sometimes my lively sister makes me laugh so hard that I roll off my couch I ache for Iraq c Q Yazidism is an ancient monotheistic religion, spread orally by holy men entrusted with our stories Although it has elements in common with the many religions of the Middle East, from Mithraism and Zoroastrianism to Islam and Judaism, it is truly unique and can be difficult even for the holy men who memorize our stories to explain I think of my religion as being an ancient tree with thousands of rings, each telling a story in the long history of Yazidis Many of those stories, sadly, are tragedies c Q There are so many things that remind me of my mother The color white A good and perhaps inappropriate joke A peacock, which Yazidis consider a holy symbol, and the short prayers I say in my head when I see a picture of the bird c Q Yazidis believe that before God made man, he created seven divine beings, often called angels, who were manifestations of himself After forming the universe from the pieces of a broken pearl like sphere, God sent his chief Angel, Tawusi Melek, to earth, where he took the form of a peacock and painted the world the bright colors of his feathers c Q This is the worst lie told about Yazidis, but it is not the only one People say that Yazidism isn t a real religion because we have no official book like the Bible or the Koran Because some of us don t shower on Wednesdays the day that Tawusi Melek first came to earth, and our day of rest and prayer they say we are dirty Because we pray toward the sun, we are called pagans Our belief in reincarnation, which helps us cope with death and keep our community together, is rejected by Muslims because none of the Abrahamic faiths believe in it Some Yazidis avoid certain foods, like lettuce, and are mocked for their strange habits Others don t wear blue because they see it as the color of Tawusi Melek and too holy for a human, and even that choice is ridiculed Q We treat happiness like a thief we have to guard against, knowing how easily it could wipe away the memory of our lost loved ones or leave us exposed in a moment of joy when we should be sad, so we limit our distractions c Q We treat happiness like a thief we have to guard against, knowing how easily it could wipe away the memory of our lost loved ones or leave us exposed in a moment of joy when we should be sad, so we limit our distractions c Q April is the month that holds the promise of a big profitable harvest and leads us into months spent outdoors, sleeping on rooftops, freed from our cold, overcrowded houses Yazidis are connected to nature It feeds us and shelters us, and when we die, our bodies become the earth Our New Year reminds us of this c Q It took a long time before I accepted that just because I didn t fight back the way some other girls did, it doesn t mean I approved of what the men were doing c Q Before ISIS came, I considered myself a brave and honest person Whatever problems I had, whatever mistakes I made, I would confess them to my family I told them, This is who I am, and I was ready to accept their reactions As long as I was with my family, I could face anything But without my family, captive in Mosul, I felt so alone that I barely felt human Something inside me died c Q Every second with ISIS was part of a slow, painful death of the body and the soul and that moment was the moment I started dying c Q We were no longer human beings we were sabaya c Q although I stayed quiet, fully believing Abu Batat would kill me if I lashed out again, inside my head I never stopped screaming c Q And so God turned them into stars On the bus, I started praying, too Please, God, turn me into a star so that I can be up in the sky above this bus, I whispered If you did it once, you can do it again But we just kept driving toward Mosul c Q II was quickly learning that my story, which I still thought of as a personal tragedy, could be someone else s political tool, particularly in a place like Iraq I would have to be careful what I said, because words mean different things to different people, and your story can easily become a weapon to be turned on you c Q Be patient, she told me Hopefully everyone you love will come back Don t be so hard on yourself c Q We are surrounded on three sides by Daesh But Kocho was a proud village We didn t want to abandon everything we had worked for the concrete homes families had spent their entire lives saving for, the schools, the massive flocks of sheep, the rooms where our babies were born c Q I cried for Kathrine and Walaa and my sisters who were still in captivity I cried because I had made it out and didn t think that I deserved to be so lucky then again, I wasn t sure I was lucky at all c Q I used to think that what happened to my sons was the worst thing a mother could bear, she said I wished all the time for them to be alive again But I am glad they didn t live to see what happened to us in Sinjar She straightened her white scarf over what remained of her hair God willing, your mother will come back to you one day, she said Leave everything to God We Yazidis don t have anyone or anything except God c Q Justice is all Yazidis have now c It never gets easier to tell your story Each time you speak it, you relive it When I tell someone about the checkpoint where the men raped me, or the feeling of Hajji Salman s whip across the blanket as I lay under it, or the darkening Mosul sky while I search the neighborhood for some sign of help, I am transported back to those moments and all their terror Other Yazidis are pulled back into these memories, too Sometimes even the Yazda members who have listened to my story countless times weep when I tell it it s their story, too Nadia Murad lost her mother and 6 brothers was an Isis sex slave she escaped years of living hell in 2015became a refugee in Germany As a spokesperson. she said my story is the best weapon I have against terrorism Reading Nadia s story is grueling and excruciating World thanks to Nadia for her bravery and service as a human rights activist Her voice is being heard Bless this woman for the difference she is making When at times she would have preferred to just crawl in a hole and die This true story is absolutely horrific devastating sad sad makes you so goddamn angry. In This Intimate Memoir Of Survival, A Former Captive Of ISIS Tells Her Harrowing And Ultimately Inspiring StoryNadia Murad Was Born And Raised In Kocho, A Small Village Of Farmers And Shepherds In Iraq A Member Of The Yazidi Community, She And Her Eleven Brothers And Sisters Lived A Quiet Life Nadia Was In High School And Had Dreams Of Becoming A History Teacher And Opening Her Own Beauty SalonOn August Th, , When Nadia Was Just Twenty One Years Old, This Life Ended ISIS Militants Massacred The People Of Her Village, Executing Men Old Enough To Fight And Women Too Old To Become Sex Slaves Six Of Nadia S Brothers Were Killed, And Her Mother Soon After, Their Bodies Swept Into Mass Graves Nadia And Her Two Sisters Were Taken To Mosul, Where They Joined Thousands Of Yazidi Girls In The ISIS Slave TradeNadia Would Be Sold Three Times, Raped, Beaten, And Forced To Convert To Islam In Order To Marry One Of Her Captors Finally, She Managed A Narrow Escape Through The Streets Of Mosul, Finding Shelter In The Home Of A Sunni Muslim Family Whose Eldest Son Risked His Life To Smuggle Her To The Safety Of A Refugee Camp There, Surrounded By Bereaved And Broken Yazidi Families, Nadia Decided To Devote Her Life To Bringing ISIS To JusticeAs A Farm Girl In Rural Iraq, Nadia Could Not Have Imagined She Would One Day Address The United Nations Or Be Nominated For The Nobel Peace Prize She Had Never Been To Baghdad, Or Even Seen An Airplane As A Slave, She Was Told By Her Captors That Yazidis Would Be Erased From The Face Of The Earth, And There Were Times When She Believed ThemToday, Nadia S Story As A Witness To ISIS, A Survivor Of Rape, A Refugee, A Yazidi Has Forced The World To Pay Attention To The Ongoing Genocide In Iraq It Is A Call To Action, A Testament To The Human Will To Survive, And A Love Letter To A Lost Country, A Fragile Community, And A Family Torn Apart By War You should read this book Not because you ll enjoy it, it s not a book meant for enjoying In fact, parts of it, you most certainly will not enjoy You will be upset You will be horrified You may need to take a minute to emotionally recoup.But this is important, y all It s important because, in places like where I live, we tend to act as though genocide and slavery are things of the past We blithely go through life as though those sorts of atrocities are part of a distant and shameful past not the harsh reality of people alive today It s important because, here in America, a lot of folks perceive Iraq as being ISIS, as being the enemy, as being a country of terrorists We fail to understand that many Iraqis are victims trapped by and subjected to the cruelty of ISIS, living daily in fear for their lives and their families lives It s important because Ms Murad is willing to bare herself before all of us, to relive her personal nightmare again and again, in the hope that we will act to give her and her people justice.We re fortunate here We have a voice We have the ability to speak up and out to our leadership Please read this Please speak up about it Please do what you can to aid the Yazidi You can take a look at the Yazda website forinformation Many thanks to Jaidee for introducing me to this website I received a complimentary copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway Many thanks to all involved in providing me with this opportunity. Much of this book is extremely hard to read I am not the type who looks at a car wreck I do not look, I flee The August 2014 ISIS attack of the author s northern Iraq Yazidi village and the sexual abuse and beatings that follow are described in excruciating detail For the Yazidi community and for Nadia, religion, ethnicity and family are one They are inseparable, and so the book begins by explaining the myths, customs and beliefs central to the community Understanding their beliefs is essential to understanding the choices they make To those of the Western mindset, many Yazidi beliefs will be perceived as foreign and strange These two factors made reading the book difficult for me, but on completion, I am very glad to have read it Being aware of what is happening in our world today is an individual s responsibility Media reportage informs but is insufficient the book givesdepth and reveals the issues at stake.We follow the attack on the village Kocho, the siege and the violence that follows the men are summarily killed, the women, of which Nadia is one, are rounded up, sold as sex slaves, starved, repeatedly raped and beaten by Islamic State militants Her perilous escape is suspensefully told The fate of all those of her extended family is detailed too The book concludes with internment in a refugee camp, emigration to Germany and tells of how she came to speak out against ISIS genocidal extermination of the Yazidi people.The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, the author of this book, for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict This, according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee announcement on October 5, 2018 in Oslo, Norway.What could have been better Political alliances in Iraq and Kurdistan are not adequately clarified The situation is complicated, and it is hard to get a clear grip on A list of the parties and their acronyms would have been helpful The inclusion of maps too Perhaps the book does have maps I do not know The audiobook is read by Ilyana Kadushin It is very well read In the beginning her voice trembles but by the end gathers the force and strength that it should have Foreign words, which many Westerners may be unacquainted with at the beginning, become recognizable and easily snapped up by the end This is aided by the narrator s clear pronunciation Four stars for the narration just as for the book s content The audiobook should have been accompanied by a PDF file with maps and a party acronym list.This is not an easy book to read but is important and is compellingly told. Sometimes it is just hard to fathom all the evil in this world The lengths people will go through, the horror they will inflict on others, for power and creating fear in my view, but claiming it is in the name of religion Such clear writing, such a heartbreaking story, a story that is happening not just in Iraq but in other parts of the world now, and it seems always somewhere This is Nadia s story, but also the story of her family, her village in Northern Iraq, her culture and beliefs as part of the Said community Torn apart, murdered, abused by ISIS, friends, family gone, girls taken used and traded sexually abused as slaves.Yet she rebels in small ways, trying to keep something of herself intact She is a fighter, manages to do what others could not, live to tell the world her story, write her story, make it known to all, what she and her people have suffered I admire her greatly and though this is a tough read in places, it is a necessary one, we who live in this world have a responsibility to witness events such as these To at least, even if we haven t the power or means to change nor stop these things from happening, we can at least say, I can hear you. Powerful, poignant, guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes no matter how tough you think you are, and surprisingly well written The Last Girl is an extraordinary first hand account of a brutal genocide of a small religious minority who had no one to protect them from the barbaric horrors of the Islamic State which grew in power and territory for several long years while moral leadership was absent in this world and this cancer grew unabated The story and sadly it is not a story begins with the Yazidis, a small religious and ethnic group in Western Iraq who lived in small villages in the shadow of Mount Sinjar Persecuted by Saddam for years, they had hope when Iraq was liberated only to see it fall into chaos several years later When Isis grew, no one stepped in to protect them and, even their neighbors turned on them, viciously When Isis finally attacked, thousands fled on foot to the mountain where the terrain was so rough not even food could successfully be airdropped Those who didn t flee where surrounded and either killed in mass graves or enslaved in slave markets and sold and traded again and again And, meanwhile, the entire civilized world could not muster the courage to do something about this evil.It is a very personal tale of a survivor who lost all hope and journeyed through hell, escaping wounded in spirit, her family broken, and little to back to You might think the world would becomecivilized with each passing year, but barbarism, cruelty, and viciousness still exists wherever it s allowed to spring up. Well, I won t put this in the military non fiction category because Daesh are a murdering bag of bastards, only good for killing unarmed opposition, and the Yazidi didn t put up a fight I d call this situation a comedy of errors but there is really nothing funny about this tragic situation It s a disaster that everyone contributed to, all the way down the line Ms Murad starts her book with a little family background and fills us in a bit on Yazidism, a religion of which I was previously ignorant and now I find I am merely mystified they pray to a peacock angel Yazidism has no book and is passed on by word of mouth, but it has one great advantage over other religions they don t want you You cannot convert to Yazidism, apparently, so they don t want you No evangelism They are perfectly happy to live in harmony with their neighbours and produce children to help in the field but now we have too many mouths to feed so we need to growso we needchildren to work the fieldyou get the picture Anyway, the head wizards over at the ISIS think tank decide that, since the Yazidi have no holy book, they are fair game for killing, raping, basically anything you want to do to them, so they surround the village with what amounts to lightly motorized infantry This is where it could have got interesting, because the Yazidi are armed It seems every Yazidi household has at least one firearm and they love to shoot them, just like every other place in the Middle East I ve heard them they shoot at funerals, they shoot at weddings, they shoot when their soccer team wins a game Totally ignorant of the laws of gravity, they shoot all the time So what do the fierce Yazidi do with this armament Some of it they turn over to ISIS, and the rest they bury Then, in a scene eerily reminiscent of that other holocaust, they take their belongings to a collection point for selection Women of ravishing age are put on transport Any boy with armpit hair is sent off with the men to be machinegunned.This is where Nadia s story begins, really Obviously she survives, because she is pictured on the cover, but I won t tell youthan that You will have to read it yourself, and really, you should read it I wish the liberal fancy boy Prime Minister of my country would read it, because maybe then he wouldn t be letting ISIS fighters back into Canada instead of putting a bounty on them like he should This book made me mad At the United Nations for imposing sanctions that hurt only the people at the bottom of societal strata At the USA for destabilising the region and then taking off at the high port, leaving weapons to the Iraqis which were then dropped and picked up by Daesh Murad says ISIS had American weapons I was angry at the Yazidi polygamous ways that enabled her father to take another wife to producekids and then house his first wife in a shed And let s not forget a system that makes it practically impossible for a poor woman to get birth control Or the other Muslim people who, while they maybe didn t exactly condone Daesh, didn t speak out against them And I was especially angry at the Yazidi men who, having weapons, did not use them on those murdering black clad monsters who had them surrounded They might not be less dead, but they would have died fighting They made it easy.People in the Middle East, in general, have a tendency to be theatrically dramatic while we in the west tend to prefer a type of stoic approach to hardship This is the only problem I had with the book Murad seems to be either screaming, fainting or puking on every other page Even considering that some very painful and wicked things were happening to her, it seemed a bit over the top It certainly didn t ruin the book, which I endorse whole heartedly.