Yazidi activist weary after years of anti-ISIS campaigning
By GEORGE JAHN | Associated Press | Published: May 22, 2017
VIENNA — Nadia Murad managed to escape the Islamic State militants who enslaved her and other Yazidi women in Iraq. A comment betrays how deeply the scars from the ordeal run more than two years after she broke free.
Asked when she is happy, Murad doesn't wait for her interpreter to finish translating the question.
"Never," she swiftly says in English, her eyes brimming with tears.
The slight and soft-spoken activist is nonetheless outspoken in her quest to bring IS members to justice.
Murad, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and a U.N. goodwill ambassador, has been the public face of the ongoing plight of Yazidi women and girls who were abducted, held in captivity and repeatedly raped after the Iraqi area of Sinjar fell to Islamic State militants in August 2014.
Since escaping three months into her own captivity, her story has drawn attention to the Yazidi, a religious that faces persecution and forced conversion to Islam. Helping to seek accountability for Islamic State group victims is human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.
But the push for an internationally sponsored investigation of IS and its members for crimes against humanity so far has not produced tangible results, and Murad acknowledges she is considering passing the torch.
"As of December, it will be two years that I've been telling my story," she told The Associated Press Monday. "I will not be able to continue forever."
Murad is working on a memoir, "The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State," that is scheduled to be published on Oct. 31. She also plans to reduce her public speaking schedule.
Instead, Murad says other former female victims of ISIS are being recruited to help maintain the focus on the thousands of women still held captive by the group.
Among them is Murad's niece. Asked if she worries her activism could lead to repercussions for her relative, Murad says, "In terms of crimes, there is nothing worse ISIS can do" to the women they are holding than they've already done.
A school girl when she was kidnapped, she says she dreamed of opening a beauty shop before her abduction.
IS has killed more than 5,500 Yazidis since then and at least 3,000 are still being held. Nearly 20 members of her own family have been killed or captured; Murad has received threats of being recaptured and says her life, with a sister in a small German town, is on hold.
"Those people who are doing this to us are still there, and the ideology is still there," she says. "Once I see a solution to our tragedy, I will think about my personal life."