Title: The Last Girl
Author: Nadia Murad
Publisher: Tim Duggan Books
What’s Auntie Reading Now? picture
Yazidis believe that before God made man, he created seven divine beings, often called angels, who were manifestations of himself. (p. 27)
#ReadingIsResistance to ignoring the call of bearing witness to the atrocities of the world. Resistance to becoming complacent in our corner of the world while those around us suffer in unimaginable ways.
I expected to struggle with the content of this book. I expected it would be hard for me to read about Nadia Murad’s horrifying experience at the hands of ISIS. I did not expect The Last Girl to be fascinating and easy to read.
Imagine you’re a 21 year-old-woman living in a community where everyone is loved and cared for. Things are not easy, but everyone gets by and helps each other. The village in which you live is the only one you’ve known, and your dream is to teach history or do make up for others. It’s all you know, and it makes you happy.
One day, all of this is torn apart and the life you once knew no longer exists. ISIS, the most hated terrorist group in the entire world, comes to your part of Iraq and lays waste to everyone you ever held dear. All the men are rounded up and killed. A few escape, but not many. All the women, girls and boys are rounded up in the school house. These women and girls are sorted into two categories, house slaves and sex slaves. The boys are sent to camps where they are brainwashed and become fighters for ISIS.
This is Nadia’s story. And it happened because she is Yazidi, a religion not recognized by the fanatics of ISIS. There is no tolerance for something different. Different is “other,” and “other” is not human and can therefore be treated in abhorrent fashion.
For a month, she was passed around between men who raped her repeatedly, grew tired of her, and sent her to another man. There is no sugar-coating this, no way to make it easy to take. Nadia Murad’s memoir makes sure the reader understands exactly what happened to her, and girls like her, in state-sponsored genocide of the Yazidi people.
Murad was a “lucky” one. She escaped and was helped across the border into Kurdistan where she was reunited with the few remaining members of her family. There, she realized she needed to tell her story. She’s gone from someone who had never seen an airplane to flying all over the world relating the horrors all Yazidi suffered at the hands of ISIS.
The Last Girl is a powerful book, and I’m glad to have been able to bear witness to Nadia Murad’s story, and her drive to help others become aware of, and stop such horrifying atrocities around the globe. I, too, hope that she is “the last girl in the world with a story like [hers].” (p. 308)
#readingisresistance is a collaboration between readers and book bloggers who believe in the activism of reading; especially in the current political climate. Reading enriches, teaches, and allows us to experience the lives of others. It leads us to understanding. It forces us to confront the hard questions, and asks us to engage with the world in a way which leads to change. Join the resistance, read.