The Last Girl: Book Review from the Board

The Last Girl, My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State, by Nadia Murad

Whether you are very aware of local and global happenings regarding Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB) or are seeking to become more informed, Nadia Murad brings the unforgettable stark reality of its impact to the forefront of your mind. The bold and courageous honesty of her own personal ongoing experience is not only heart-wrenchingly engaging, but it is a clarion call to action for each one of us.

Nadia shares what it feels like to experience firsthand the devastating effects of religious persecution. She describes the attacks of ISIS on her Yazidi family and community in Kocho, Iraq, and is explicitly blatant about the horrific genocide of her people. Nadia’s own abominable experience as a sex slave, her harrowing escape, and the aftermath of responding to this horrendous ordeal sears into one’s mind the effects of man’s disregard for the human rights and dignity of others.

Particularly poignant was Nadia’s account of the healing response of the Yazidi religious leaders to her and many other women and girls who were victims of sex slavery. Their Baba Chawish gathered them, kissed their heads, sought to understand by asking them questions, and most importantly, listened.

As Nadia so powerfully expresses, there is a need for religious, government and civic leaders to listen and seek to understand the egregious human rights violations that continue today. They, and each one of us, must decisively act together to stop these abominations and bring to justice the perpetrators of such crimes against humanity. We must foster a safe society in which each individual is free to choose to act within the bounds of law to exercise freedom of conscience without fear of retribution or discrimination.

More than anything else, says Nadia, “I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine.” She will not rest until she is.