The Last Girl by Nadia Murad (2017)

Abused, forced into the sexual slave trade, tortured and her family members murdered by members of the Islamic state, Nadia Murad endured it all and was eventually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her survival


In this intimate memoir of survival, a former captive of the Islamic State tells her harrowing and ultimately inspiring story.

Nadia Murad was born and raised in Kocho, a small village of farmers and shepherds in northern Iraq. A member of the Yazidi community, she and her brothers and sisters lived a quiet life. Nadia had dreams of becoming a history teacher or opening her own beauty salon.

On August 15th, 2014, when Nadia was just twenty-one years old, this life ended. Islamic State militants massacred the people of her village, executing men who refused to convert to Islam 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 was taken to Mosul and forced, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls, into the ISIS slave trade.

Nadia would be held captive by several militants and repeatedly raped and beaten. 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 safety.

Today, Nadia’s story–as a witness to the Islamic State’s brutality, a survivor of rape, a refugee, a Yazidi–has forced the world to pay attention to an ongoing genocide. 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. 

Heather S.’ review
This non-fiction book first caught my attention as it was mentioned in an editorial by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. Kristoff was appalled at President Trumps behaviour upon meeting Nadia Murad at the White House. A U-tube video is still available on line of this greeting and it is evident that Trump was completely ignorant or/and embarrassingly unaware of this girl’s history.

My first surprise in reading the book was that Amal Clooney, international human rights lawyer and wife of George Clooney, wrote the forward.

Although the subject matter in the book was at times a difficult read, it is a personal reflection of the organized, persecution and sexual abuse that the author endured at the hands of ISIS. It reminded me of another powerful book, (A House in the Sky by Canadian, Amanda Lindhout) also written by a survivor of sexual violence.

The difference here is that that Nadia Murad is a Yasidi and the book describes certain aspects of the Yasidi faith. The author has also petitioned the United Nations to charge ISIS with genocide and prosecute the individuals involved with sexual trafficking and crimes against humanity under the International Criminal Court.

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