I don’t know if anyone else remembers that raw footage of ISIS clawing its way onto Sinjar Mountain, a twisted madness in their eyes. ISIS had taken over the plains where the Yazidis had lived for generations, and the Yazidis had fled for refuge upon their sacred mountain, ISIS hot on their heels. ISIS was intent on genocide. Murdering men and older women, making boys convert and then twisting and manipulating them, forcing them to commit war crimes so the guilt that built up on their little souls became a hard scabby shell making them easier to control as cannon fodder in ISIS’s wars.
The girls they took as sex slaves – because while ISIS was a death cult, it was also a sex cult. Strict interpretations of Islamic law made it impossible to enslave Christians or Jews or other Muslims as “people of the book” – but Yazidis were seen as kufar. Unbelievers. With no rights. It was about eight years ago that they seized the Yazidi land in Sinjar province of northern Iraq. Many Yazidis fled to the Kurdish areas, some made it to the safety of the mountain. Thousands upon thousands were murdered, and more thousands – especially girls – were herded to the slave markets of Mosul.
Nadia Murad was one of these girls, and “The Last Girl” is her story. A tragic story of rape and abuse, but also of resilience and courage. Of her time in captivity, and how she escaped, and why she dedicated her life to free the remaining enslaved and seek justice against the ISIS soldiers who thought that there would be none.
There is something twisted and bent within people. ISIS proved that. Which is why we have law in the first place; Biblical law – one man made with one woman, to create children and thus a family around which society will be built. And you don’t need to believe in the Bible for that to be true; it is written down in nature as well. But so often people look for license to behave as they wish; “Everybody did what was right in their own eyes” and in doing so beckon the devil. Often times, the devil will come. ISIS provided that as well.
We said “Never again”, after ISIS was defeated and the brave American soldiers chased Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi into a cave where the sadistic prick blew himself up. But it has happened a lot since that ‘Never again’. Nigeria and Ethiopia and Venezuela and now in Ukraine – where godless people and their godless wars again want to pretend that there are no consequences and no judges. Which is why we all need to read Nadia’s auto-biography. To remind ourselves of what the world is capable absent the preservative power of God in society; our God – the true God of compassion and kindness and sacrifice and morality. And as we lower our heads in humility as we say “But by the grace of God, there go I as well.”