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The Beekeeper of Sinjar: Rescuing the Stolen…
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The Beekeeper of Sinjar: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq (utgåvan 2018)

av Dunya Mikhail (Författare), Max Weiss (Översättare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
903233,053 (4.04)9
Since 2014, Daesh (ISIS) has been brutalizing the Yazidi people of northern Iraq: sowing destruction, killing those who won't convert to Islam, and enslaving young girls and women. The Beekeeper, by the acclaimed poet and journalist Dunya Mikhail, tells the harrowing stories of several women who managed to escape the clutches of Daesh. Mikhail extensively interviews these women--who've lost their families and loved ones, who've been sexually abused, psychologically tortured, and forced to manufacture chemical weapons--and as their tales unfold, an unlikely hero emerges: a beekeeper, who uses his knowledge of the local terrain, along with a wide network of transporters, helpers, and former cigarette smugglers, to bring these women, one by one, through the war-torn landscapes of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, back into safety. In the face of inhuman suffering, this powerful work of nonfiction offers a counterpoint to Daesh's genocidal extremism: hope, as ordinary people risk their own lives to save those of others. … (mer)
Medlem:YealandQuakers
Titel:The Beekeeper of Sinjar: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq
Författare:Dunya Mikhail (Författare)
Andra författare:Max Weiss (Översättare)
Info:Serpent's Tail (2018), Edition: Main, 224 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Taggar:Social Matters

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The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq av Dunya Mikhail

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A harrowing series of stories about the Yasidi in Kurdistan/Iraq/Syria during Daesh occupation from 2014-2017, and about Abdullah (the beekeeper) who risked his life daily to save people. Mikhail tells each story verbatim, including details on torture, rape and murder that is difficult to read at times. The darkness of this is lifted by her poetic responses in the second half of the book, where the author weaves a creative and philosophically hopeful response to one of the darkest crisis in recent years. Hard to recommend directly, but despite its darkness this book is an excellent read and an important catalogue of human suffering and the kindness of people who help. ( )
  ephemeral_future | Aug 20, 2020 |
My mother lent me this and I think it was one of her friends who either recommended it or lent it to her. It is, to be honest, not usual reading material for either of us. I don’t think anyone needs to be told that ISIS, AKA Daesh, are nasty pieces of work – especially with Shemima Begum all over the UK news last month. (For the record, she’s a British citizen and has every right to return to the UK, and revoking her citizenship is disgusting, never mind illegal; but that’s the scumbag Tories for you.) The Beekeeper of Sinjar is specifically about the Daesh genocide of the Yazidis, an ethno-religious group from the region, whose monotheistic religion is distinct from the Abrahamic religions. Daesh would slaughter the men and elderly, and sell off the women at slave markets to Daesh members. A number of the Daesh described in the book were either American or Russian. The title refers to a man who still lives in the area, and helps Yazidi women escape their Daesh captors. Sometimes it’s just a matter of paying off the Daesh man holding a woman captive, other times the women have to be spirited away and smuggled across the border. The book is structured as a series of telephone conversations between US-based Mikhail and the beekeeper, during which the beekeeper often tells the stories of the women, and occasionally, men he has rescued. It’s harrowing stuff. And let’s not forget, Daesh is Blair’s and Bush’s legacy. Unfortunately, The Beekeeper of Sinjar suffers by being quite badly written. Partly it’s the nature of conversations – although the poetry excerpts add little – and the book never really gives a clear idea of what the Yazidi are (I had to look them up on Wikipedia to learn they have their own religion, for example). Certainly, the story in The Beekeeper of Sinjar needs to be told, but I think I would have preferred something more like reportage than Mikhail’s attempt to humanise events. ( )
  iansales | Mar 17, 2019 |
I don’t know how to review this book. Through tears, certainly. This is not a fairy tale. Fairy tales have happy endings. This is journalism and poetry and perhaps a hint of survivor puzzlement if not guilt. All that and shock. Shock at humanity’s inhumanity to humans. Shock because depravity. Shock that should be beyond words except that Dunya Mikhail’s gift is words, so words it must be.

This is not a fairy tale. Fairy tales have happy endings. It is no accident, and this is not a spoiler because spoilers pertain to entertainment, and The Beekeeper of Sinjah does not entertain (though I could not put it down), it is no accident that Dunya Mikhail ends the account with a suicide. Fairy tales have happy endings. Auschwitz did not have happy endings, even for those who survived. Complacency has happy endings. (Western Society may believe it is a fairy tale with happy endings, but is it?)

The Beekeeper of Sinjah does not have a happy ending because: truth. Because: no sound [209]. Dunya Mikhail hints many times over that there can be no sound escape the hell of the Yazidi of the Sinjar Valley.

No sound because the soundmakers are dead, the men shot, the boys brainwashed and shot, the girls and women raped and sold and raped and psychologically shot, the old women shot or raped or just left to die.

Or perhaps because I’m human and you are too and we need just a hint of hope there are, in Dunya Mikhail’s account, the narjis. Google-image “narjis,” I discovered, and countless beautiful women will appear. This discovery made me feel, momentarily, like the Daesh men buying women in the markets of Sinjar. One dark truth of The Beekeeper of Sinjah is that we are all capable of atrocity. The Third Reich taught us that (and theologians like Jürgen Moltmann have tried for a lifetime to remind us). Perhaps Trump’s America has taught us again, but for now let’s not go there (though Dunya Mikhail built herself a new life in Michigan, deep in the heart of that darkening world).

But no: Dunya Mikhail’s narjis are the original daffodil, the Narcissus Poeticus that appear in just one segment of this narrative of inhumanity, [137-147] yet are hinted at over and again in the glimpses of triumph over mercilessness. Hints, but there will be no final word because, as Abdullah Shrem, the real hero, the real subject of this biography puts it, “we want the region to be fully liberated so that we can return.” [202]

Perhaps some technicalities? Dunya Mikhail is a journalist and a poet: expect both tools of trade to inform and shape this remarkable book. Her timeline is deliberately convoluted, for in the suffering of chaos there is no time. As a journalist she often recorded conversations, especially with Abdullah Shrem across the time zones, and transcribes them with the short, ungrammatical, sans serif flavour of unedited vocal discourse. As a poet she weaves feeling and her skilled, terse understatement (presumably a feature of her Arabic as well as her English) into a pattern as resilient as the Middle Eastern landscape, yet as tender as a new born baby’s scent. (But new-born babies die in this account, brutally, needlessly). It is almost as though the words are not there; only the beauty and the suffering remain until the reader pauses with the sense that something is happening, has happened, beyond articulation.

Probably I should give examples, yet how can I? Every paragraph is so tightly written than I cannot tear Dunya Mikhail’s words from their context. Or perhaps I could but only her italicised words, her poems, which she weaves into the darkness as if breathing space for her and us as the horror and the sparks of irrepressible human spirit continue to unfurl. “Which side of the story / is your story?” [98]. Only if we were faced with the brutal horrors, the inhuman choices of the Sinjar Valley (or Auschwitz, or Bosnia Herzegovina, or Burundi and Rwanda or Trump’s on-going calls for violence against his perceived enemies or Scott Morrison’s Australian narratives of xenophobia) … only then would we know which side. And, while I don’t think Dunya Mikhail is setting out to put questions, that is the question she puts, and you and I must answer. ( )
1 rösta Michael_Godfrey | Dec 16, 2018 |
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Since 2014, Daesh (ISIS) has been brutalizing the Yazidi people of northern Iraq: sowing destruction, killing those who won't convert to Islam, and enslaving young girls and women. The Beekeeper, by the acclaimed poet and journalist Dunya Mikhail, tells the harrowing stories of several women who managed to escape the clutches of Daesh. Mikhail extensively interviews these women--who've lost their families and loved ones, who've been sexually abused, psychologically tortured, and forced to manufacture chemical weapons--and as their tales unfold, an unlikely hero emerges: a beekeeper, who uses his knowledge of the local terrain, along with a wide network of transporters, helpers, and former cigarette smugglers, to bring these women, one by one, through the war-torn landscapes of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, back into safety. In the face of inhuman suffering, this powerful work of nonfiction offers a counterpoint to Daesh's genocidal extremism: hope, as ordinary people risk their own lives to save those of others. 

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