The Last Girl

The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State

by Nadia Murad

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Nadia grew up in a small Iraqi village called Kocho with her large family. In 2014, she was 21 years old and aspired to be a beautician She was innocent and protected, like all of her family, as well as the entire village. They were Yazidi, a small minority religious group without written text, but oral traditions and worship sites. They lived hard, poorly, and quietly, hurting no one. They were massacred, raped, and pillaged for not converting to the radical muslim faith practiced (loosely) by the militants demanding their property, and their very lives.

ISIS militants attacked the village after a siege in which they lied to the villagers, tricking them into thinking if they gave in willingly, they would be allowed to run to a nearby mountain to safety. Instead, the men were all shot Nazi-style into mass graves, the older women too. Adolescent boys were brainwashed and turned into militant soldiers after the trauma they experienced. The younger women and girls were sold as sex slaves to other militants. Beaten, raped repeatedly, humiliated, starved, and treated worse than we can imagine, Nadia, only one of thousands of girls, escaped. She has since dedicated her life to telling her story to bring ISIS to justice, and to help prevent other women and children from enduring the torture she lived through.

What a harrowing journey you will take with Nadia and her family in this book, but really, I have said before, and say again, such tales take courage to be told, and shouldn’t we then, at ease in our safe lives, be willing to listen? Hopefully of course, we will seek out some way to be helpful if we are touched enough to respond. So often we sit in leisure, and this is how the genocide of the Yazidis in Iraq happened. As always, history shows that it is the complacency of ordinary people turning their eyes away that help evil to stir itself and devour the innocent.

I found this memoir hard to read, but equally hard to put down. It was well-written, and clear. Informative but deeply intimate and personal. I think this story is worth reading, and re-telling, until there are no more women and girls like Nadia.

  • I received this book from the publisher for free and agreed to an unbiased written review

Watch a YouTube interview

Read an excerpt 

 

A bit of Q & A w/ Nadia from the above website:
Why do you feel so strongly that it’s critical to fight ISIS not only on the battlefield, but in the courtroom?
 
It’s not enough for ISIS to be destroyed militarily. In order for the world to see who they are, they need to be held accountable in international courts on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. This is the only way Yazidis will possibly be able to move on with our lives, mourn our dead, and try to rebuild what we lost. It is also the only possible way to prevent a future genocide. What else are international courts for if not to stop another Holocaust, Rwanda, or Sinjar? A trial tells the militants that the world in the twenty-first century is built in a way that values life and humanity above mere power and fear, and that not only are we capable of protecting the most vulnerable, but that we will, no matter what.

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