Author of the week
If Nadia Murad has her way, no woman of the future will have a story to tell quite as awful as her own, said Sally Williams in The Times (U.K.). In August 2014, when Murad was 21, ISIS militants invaded her village in northern Iraq, slaughtered the men, and took Murad and other young women as sex slaves. The villagers were Yazidis, members of a religious minority despised by ISIS, and Murad’s captors repeatedly raped and beat her after transferring her to Mosul. Weeks after she was seized, she escaped and was smuggled outside of ISIS territory by a Muslim family she reached out to in desperation. In her new memoir, The Last Girl, she revisits the harrowing experience, adding details to a story she first shared publicly a year ago at the United Nations. “It is not just the story of one girl, but thousands of girls,” she says.
It is also, as she often says, the story of the entire Yazidi community, and how potential protectors let them down, said Denise Balkissoon in The Globe and Mail (Canada). Murad’s mother and six of her brothers were among many thousands of Yazidis killed by ISIS, and she claims that 3,000 women are still being held as sex slaves. Describing her ordeal is always painful for her, but she hopes continuing to do so will keep attention on those women and help to hold her captors accountable for their crimes. “I think there was a reason God helped me escape, and I don’t take my freedom for granted,” she writes. “Every time I tell my story, I feel that I am taking some power away from the terrorists.”
Marion Wood Kolisch, Thomas Duffé ■