Yezidi survivor freed from IS publishes book recounting terrifying experiences
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Yezidi (Ezidi) survivor has published a book describing the years under the captivity of the so-called Islamic State (IS).
The book, titled “Layla and the Nights of Pain,” became widely known shortly after its release. In the harrowing account, the Ezidi survivor reveals the details of one of the world’s worst tragedies where thousands of the ethnic-minority group were kidnapped by IS and subject to horrendous crimes.
The stories in the book are real. The main character is Layla, a mother of two, kidnapped by IS when the extremist group invaded the town of Sinjar (Shingal) in August 2014. Layla was held captive for two years, eight months, and six days where she was victim to psychological and physical abuse, rape, and torture.
“In my book, I tried to bring to the world the tragedy of the Ezidis, and how [IS] kidnapped us and raped us, how they separated us from our husbands and our children,” she told Kurdistan 24 at a book signing ceremony in Erbil.
“The suffering is ongoing, and thousands of Ezidis remain captive in the hands of the extremist organization.”
IS has forcibly converted thousands of Ezidis and imposed their strict interpretation of Islam on them, as well as training children on how to fight, and commit violence.
With the support of two humanitarian groups, Layla’s book was published in both Arabic and Kurdish in the Sorani and Kurmanji dialects.
“I left nothing out,” Layla said. “I explained to the world our suffering and our pain in the hope that it would not be repeated.”
Her brother, Khaled, was the ghostwriter who researched and wrote the book together. Layla spoke to her brother about her experiences, including instances where she was sexually abused and raped.
“It is hard for a brother to write the story of his sister’s rape,” Khaled Talou told Kurdistan 24.
“But I went beyond these restrictions, and I wanted to bring the suffering of Layla and thousands of Ezidis to the world, so everyone knows how much injustice they have experienced,” he added.
Layla was one of 19 members in her family abducted by IS. So far, 10 of them have been freed, including five children and five women. The fate of the other nine is unclear, and the fate of her husband remains unknown.