My review of Iraqi-American award-winning journalist and poet Dunya Mikhail’s nonfiction about the Yazidi genocide in Iraq is up at PopMatters. ‘The Beekeeper: Saving the Stolen Women of Iraq’ is an important book because so much of this kind of news gets drowned out in the other daily inanities of he-said-she-said in both news & social media.
It’s due out on March 27th and is a mix of reportage, memoir (Mikhail herself had to flee Iraq due to threats from the Saddam Hussain government), and some verse. Not an easy read and I explain why in the review.
Dunya Mikhail’s account, The Beekeeper:Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq, covers the 2014 to 2016 period, beginning with the genocidal massacre at Sinjar and neighboring towns.This involved Daesh moving in swiftly and systematically to capture all the towns and villages around the mountain, kill thousands of Yazidis who refused to convert, rape and enslave girls and women, and train young boys to become radicalized killers. It was all carefully planned and justified, particularly in ISIS/Daesh publications, as a religious act. As thousands of Yazidis left behind their ancestral lands and homes to attempt escape with the help of smugglers or just their own sheer grit, the Obama administration conducted airstrikes and local Kurdish Peshmerga, PKK, and YPG forces periodically attacked or withdrew as their limited resources allowed.
And pair this with one of Mikhail’s poems, ‘The War Works Hard‘, which I’ve featured here before.