The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq, by Dunya Mikhail.
Dunya Mikhail is a poet and writer who currently teaches Arabic at Michigan State University. She was born in Iraq and graduated from the University of Baghdad, but fled in 1996 after questioning Saddam Hussain’s policies in the nineteen-nineties. Her book, The Beekeeper, is an anthology of interviews with people (mostly women) who have survived the current persecution by Daesh (ISIS) and the people trying to help them. I found myself thinking over and over again how it could be possible that these atrocities could be happening in this day and age and how little attention is paid to this holocaust. Entire communities have been overrun because the residents are Yazidi or Christian; men and the elderly are being murdered and dumped in mass graves, boys are being torn from their mothers and indoctrinated to become fighters for the mujahadin, women and girls are being used to incentivize men to join ISIS and bought and sold as slaves. The men who fight under the “black flag” of Daesh are from all countries, including America. Mikhail is able to recount many of these tragic stories through her daily phone conversations with Abdullah, an Iraqi beekeeper who works with a network of people to help to smuggle the kidnapped women away from danger, at great risk to themselves. The author intersperses poetry throughout the text almost as a way to distract from the horror of the recollections of those interviewed, however, unsurprisingly, the poetry itself is heavy with symbolism and sadness. Mikhail has been recognized as a United Nations Human Rights award winner.
This is a heartbreaking book.