Vian Dakhil writes at Politico:
Last week I arrived back home to Iraqi Kurdistan, exhausted but proud of a small but real triumph over the Islamic State. Three women and two toddlers came back with me—five human beings just rescued from enslavement by ISIL. For over a year, they were abused, raped and traded fighter to fighter because of one reason: our Yazid religion. I am determined to save every last one of the more than 2,000 Yazidi women and girls still waiting to be freed
Yazidis are a Kurdish religious community. They are not Muslims or Christians but are monotheists.
They thought they were abandoned. Their ISIL captors told them that no one wanted them, in their shame and defilement, and that no one was looking for them. But I insist on reaching out to them through pleas on Arabic radio and TV. I give them my phone number, and tell them that we love them and we want them back. Some brave women hear these messages and contact us, and a rescue mission commences. I answer the phone every time, determined to do all that I can, but it is little, and it is not enough. I know there will always be another call, another Yazidi who is terrified and broken and in need of hope, as the world looks the other way.
One of the women, clutching her 2-year-old child, was so distraught. The child kept asking for her 7-year-old sister, who had been taken away from her mother and enrolled in a religious institution where she would be forced to convert to Islam. Her mother had had no choice but to escape without her, and she told me she feared the girl would be raped at the hands of the militants. We have evidence of the militants raping our girls as young as age 8.
I believe future generations will regard Islamic State as our equivalent of the Nazis. They do not have the same capacity as the Nazis, but their inhumanity is on a par.
Thousands of people—primarily women and children are still in captivity in Islamic State territory. I have spoken to women who have made it out who said they had been sold five or six times, in each case being raped by as many as five men at a time before being sold to another fighter. The militants force the young ones to convert, teach them how to pray and train them to be child soldiers—telling them all the while that their families won’t take them back because they have converted to Islam. Some girls told me that they had lost all hope. We just gave up and decided this is the life that we should live, they told me, because we don’t have another life. We can’t go back to our home.
But they can go home; their families—our families—are waiting for them. And, slowly but surely, I and a determined group of people are getting Yazidi prisoners out of this nightmare. There are some volunteers willing to go into ISIL-controlled areas to save those girls and help them all get back safely to Iraqi Kurdistan. With no help from any government, we’ve been able to rescue 2,150 of the 5,840 Yazidi men, women and children who were taken prisoner—800 of them young girls.
Amazing. That is God’s work.
The author is a member of the Iraqi Parliament.