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A riveting, behind-the-scenes look of the Yazidi genocide and the terrorist threat it holds for the West, based on the investigation by Father Patrick Desbois, Costel Nastasie, and their team at Yahad–In Unum, as first shown on 60 Minutes.
With testimony drawn from more than 200 interviews with Yazidi survivors—girls, women, boys, and men—recorded during 11 investigative trips to refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan.
"If you read only one book on this subject, it should be this one.”—Lara Logan, 60 Minutes
The massacre of the Yazidi people by ISIS was nothing less than genocide. In refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan, the authors brought a skilled team to interview more than a hundred ISIS survivors and document what they experienced and saw. These former slaves observed their torturers and know from the inside the secret facilities that ISIS has kept hidden from the world. What their testimony reveals is an organization whose ambition is power, regardless of their claim to be "soldiers of God." Their fighters are paid with sex, money, and the power of life and death over captives. Their promised paradise is here and now, not after death.
Men who didn't swear allegiance were executed. Women became slaves for sex or reproduction, and their offspring may still serve the cause. In mobile training camps, the captured children were drugged, indoctrinated, and taught to shoot Kalashnikovs, plant explosives, and handle suicide vests. They are the intended products of the terrorist factory. In this taut, disturbing account, the authors document a utilitarian genocide that still holds an implicit threat to other counties, including those in the West.
Desbois, a priest who has spent decades documenting the human toll of the Holocaust for his research organization Yahad in Unum, turns his attention to the Yazidi victims of ISIS in this moving volume. In a series of harrowing and haunting interviews with witnesses to and victims of unspeakable depredations such as Avine, pressed into sexual slavery and purchased by a senior sheikh to be his wife, and Lawin, sole survivor of a mass execution the authors shine a light on the travails of a religious minority little known outside their Iraqi mountain redoubt. Seemingly motivated as much by power and material gain as by religion, Desbois writes of how ISIS recruits traffic in stolen property and human chattel just as the Nazis did before them. In passionate prose surrounding the excerpted interviews, Desbois argues that ISIS's strategy goes deeper than annihilation of the Yazidi community: "ISIS... crushes certain of its victims to turn them not only into subjugated slaves but also collaborators." Of Westerners' ignorance and indifference, Desbois says that "our desire to sleep peacefully has no limits... deform our reality to make it carefree." The survivors' voices captured here bear witness to humanity's collective failure to abolish genocide.