The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq

Dunya Mikhail, trans. from the Arabic by Max Weiss and Dunya Mikhail. New Directions, $16.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-8112-2612-7
Iraqi journalist and poet Mikhail (The Iraqi Nights) lays bare the agonizing experiences of the Yazidi people at the hands of ISIS in this visceral account of the outskirts of modern day Iraq. In 2014, ISIS began invading villages of northern Iraq, killing most of the men and enslaving the women and children. Much of Mikhail’s account is made up of first-person testimonies of several survivors who speak of being repeatedly raped, sold to the highest bidder, and tortured. They recall losing their families and witnessing their children, raised by ISIS supporters, becoming “a distorted version” of who they once were. Mikhail also homes in on the rescue efforts of a man named Abdullah, a local beekeeper who used his knowledge of the region and the money he made selling honey in Iraq and Syria to cultivate a “hive of transporters and smugglers” to save women; he subsequently connected Mikhail to several survivors. Powerful and heartbreaking, this work lets the survivors tell their stories and highlights the courage of those risking their lives to rescue others. Photos. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/2018
Release date: 02/19/2018
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