'I Tell My Story, Because It's the Best Weapon I Have'
“It never gets easier to tell your story. Each time you speak it, you relive it. When I tell someone about the checkpoint where the men raped me, or the feeling of Hajji Salman’s whip across the blanket as I lay under it, or the darkening Mosul sky while I searched the neighborhood for some sign of help, I am transported back to those moments and all their terror.” —Nadia Murad, Survivor
The slave market, she explained, opened at night. “We could hear the commotion downstairs where militants were registering and organizing, and when the first man entered the room, all the girls started screaming. It was like the scene of an explosion. We moaned as though wounded, doubling over and vomiting on the floor, but none of it stopped [them].” Men strutted through the room, while the young women sobbed.
“They gravitated toward the most beautiful girls first, asking, ‘How old are you?’ and examining their hair and mouths. ‘They are virgins, right?’ they asked a guard, who nodded and said, ‘Of course!’ like a shopkeeper taking pride in his product. Now the militants touched us anywhere they wanted, running their hands [everywhere], as if we were animals.” Nadia thought about whether she could fight. She watched other girls slap away hands, curl their bodies into balls on the floor, and throw themselves on younger sisters or friends. In the end, she was taken — her dreams of becoming a teacher gone, along with her mother and six brothers, all massacred by ISIS right in front of her.
After three days as a sex slave, she was given to an ISIS fighter as a present. When she tried to escape, she was gang raped into unconsciousness. Somehow, on a summer night in June of 2014, she slipped out of her master’s house, wandered around Mosul for hours, finally stopping at a gate to knock. Inside, Omar Jabar and his family froze at the sound. After deciding it wasn’t militants, Jabar and his father walked out to find a small woman, draped head-to-toe in a black. ‘Please help me,’ she pleaded. ‘They are raping me.’“ Jabar pulled her inside, to safety. Despite the big reward they could have gotten for turning her in, he remembers, "We never considered it.”
In the years since, Nadia has often wondered why she was so lucky — and thousands of other Yazidis weren’t. But she vowed to tell her story. “I tell [it],” she says, “because it’s the best weapon I have.” Nadia, now a Nobel Peace Prize winner and ambassador for the U.N., has used that weapon all over the world, reliving her nightmare for civil leaders, government officials, diplomats, reporters — anyone who will listen. “I [tell] them I wasn’t raised to give speeches,” she says. “I [tell] them that every Yazidi wants ISIS prosecuted for genocide, and that [it’s] in their power to help protect vulnerable people all over the world.” Most of all, Nadia insists, “I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine.”
The awards don’t matter to her. The applause for her bravery or the celebrities who ask to meet her often fade to the background. She is here, as she was this afternoon at the Ministieral to Advance Religious Freedom, for one purpose: to be their voice. Yesterday, the State Department auditorium was one of the few places where Nadia could look around the room and see the familiar mark of suffering.
She, like everyone else, heard the horrors of religious hatred. A little girl, just six years old, who lost both of her eyes in the Sri Lanka Easter bombing. She’ll never see her parents again — but not because of her injuries. There was the mother, whose son’s last words were “I’ll just have a glass of water, and I’ll be back.” Then a bomb went off. In the chaos, other women thought they’d seen her boy in his red shirt. She felt calm — even as other children screamed from their burns. Her son, she would find out later, was not okay. He had already died, with dozens of other Sunday school children, in the fire.
There was the New Zealand widower, who’d traveled 28 hours to honor the memory of his wife. “When I received the invitation to come here, you can see me,” Dr. Farid Ahmed said, gesturing to his wheelchair, “My body said, ‘Don’t dare…’ But my heart could not resist…” His message, he decided was too important. When his wife was gunned down in the Christchurch mosque, he chose love. “I have forgiven.” He hopes the international community will, too.
These testimonies — and others — are proof that the world desperately needs the vision of the Trump administration. “We’re trying to get religions to stand for each other,” Ambassador Sam Brownback implored. “We need your activism. We need your passion. We need you to boldly fight for religious freedom,” he urged. “As united we do stand, divided we fall — and often we fall in catastrophic, and sometimes even genocidal, ways.”
As for Nadia, she’ll keep speaking — telling a survivor’s story that, because of her, fewer women will share.
Originally published here.
Welcome to Mineral Wells, Population: Growing
Mineral Wells, Texas doesn’t have an abortion clinic. And they’d like to keep it that way. Mayor Chris Perricone knows he can’t control what’s happening in New York or Illinois — or even the rest of his state. But, with the city’s help, he can control what happens in his community. And making Mineral Wells a place that welcomes life should be a part of that.
“What started in Waskom, it’s like a little snowball that starts at the top of the mountain,” the 38-year-old Perricone said. He was referring to the Texas border, where a town of less than 3,000 people made national news by declaring themselves a sanctuary city for the unborn. He hopes that by Tuesday night’s end, Mineral Wells will be “a progression of that.” “I think this is absolutely the right thing to do,” he explained. “My beliefs as a Christian are that life begins at conception. Those lives are in need of help.”
National abortion groups mocked the effort, but locals are too busy cheering to care. “His job as mayor is to look after the people in the city, including the most vulnerable,” Mark Dickson of Right to Life East Texas pointed out. “This is the civil rights issue of our day. Unborn children are just as much human as me and you. Their lives deserve to be protected.” In a community of just 15,000, everyone understands how important each person is.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, on the other hand, thinks the mayor should be more concerned with “fixing potholes” than saving human lives. Mayor Perricone should be “moving into the 21st century by working on the priorities outlined by ‘Envision Mineral Wells,’ rather than wasting time trying to pass an ordinance that will never be enforced,” one spokeswoman argued. Oh, it’ll be enforced, residents say. “Our town [will] take a stand.”
When they do, congressmen like Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) will be cheering them on. Back in Washington, they’d do anything for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to consider the barest protections for infants. For the 72nd time, House Republicans walked to the floor on Monday and demanded a simple vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act — only to be told, as they were 71 tries, that their request wouldn’t be considered.
Help us make it impossible for Democrats not to listen! If you haven’t taken part in FRC’s End Birth Day Abortion campaign and sent a newborn baby hat to Speaker Pelosi, what are you waiting for? Join us! Together, we can flood Pelosi’s office with reminders that America ought to be a sanctuary country for the unborn — and the born.
Originally published here.
Washington’s New Four-Letter Word: F-L-A-G
A lot of the residents in Mullis Senior Center survived Korea and Vietnam. Now they’re facing a new enemy: political correctness. When the seniors found out that the Pledge of Allegiance had been banned, they fought back. If the board of directors at the Washington State facility wants to deprive them of the freedom they sacrificed for, they’ll have to try harder.
“The Mullis Senior Center is simply adjusting to the changing times,” the statement read from the board of directors. “We feel we cannot let the habits of our past be the enemy of our future.” But since when did patriotism and prayer become “enemies of our future,” residents asked? A lot of them think the facility, which is situated on a tiny island, isn’t just removed from the mainland — it’s removed from common sense. So, a group of seniors reached out to the American Legion for help.
Post 163 Commander David Holzer replied that they “were more than happy to assist local senior citizens who wanted the pledge restored.” But, as Fox News’s Todd Starnes points out, “even the brave military veterans were not prepared for the community center’s open hostility toward patriots.” When a group of veterans kept coming in to say the traditional prayer and pledge at lunch, the staff called the police — three times. At one point, Holzer explained, his personal conversation with the center got so heated that when he asked how the management could restrict people’s constitutional rights, the employee fired back, “You think that the people of Nazi Germany enjoyed saying, ‘Heil Hitler?’”
“My response to her,” Holzer told a local radio station, “besides a dumbfounded look, was, ‘They didn’t have a choice. In this country you do,’ he recalled. ‘And you’re taking away everyone’s choice and right of saying the Pledge of Allegiance.’” Along with the facility’s flags, which were also removed. “It’s amazing,” another Legion spokesman said, “the amount of people who enjoy the liberties of this country, but they don’t want to have to go ahead and produce any of the work that those liberties entitle you to.”
In the meantime, veterans and residents are persistent. They continue to carry flags in and say the pledge, despite being harassed, threatened, or physically removed from the premises. If the center’s goal was “provid[ing] a safe and peaceful environment in our building and on our property, inclusive to all,” they’ve failed miserably. “These senior citizens should be free to pray together before their meal,” First Liberty’s Roger Byron argued. “The Supreme Court just last year said, ‘There can be no doubt that the First Amendment protects the right to pray. Prayer unquestionably constitutes the 'exercise’ of religion.‘”
Obviously, that message hasn’t made it to the extremists running the Mullis Senior Center. And until it does, you can bet: these patriots aren’t backing down. They weren’t taught the meaning of the word “quit” — and a world that owes its freedom to them ought to be grateful.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.