hana the yazidi
hell is on earth
Writing this story the author Claudia Ryan considered many real stories that she heard from the women that she interviewed in Kurdistan, but also from articles by other journalists and the reports by Human Watch.
Anyway at the end Hana and the different events of the novel are creations of the writer.
Hana, a young Yazidi woman, a nurse in a hospital in Duhok, on the 3rd of August 2014 she was in Sinjar visiting her family when the guerrillas of ISIS arrived. On that occasion, like many other women of the Yazidi minority, she tragically lost her brother and her mother, and now she doesn’t know where her sister is, who, like her, was kidnapped and then sold as a slave. After some very distressing events, Hana was able to escape and to be safe from her enslaver.
The story tells of her in the present, while she lives in Duhok and works at an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp in Khanke, meanwhile she has to deal with her inner wounds caused by the tortures of Daesh who abused her many times, but also with the willingness to find again a glimmer of happiness.
The way she recalls her memories is rich in detail and becomes a fresco of the Kurdish life and society, allowing western readers to discover the soul of a population about whom they only know from newspapers and television.
The novel tells a tragic distressing story, but there is a positive end, because the writer thinks that hope has to prevail over atrocities.
Hana is the main character. When we read about her present life the book is written in the third person, but when she starts to remember what happened in her recent past, when she was a prisoner of Daesh, the story is told in the first person, so it becomes more intimate. Hana needs to record her tragic experience on a tablet, as the doctor has suggested to her because she is not able to talk about her experience in front of a person. By reading her words the reader is aware of the difficulties she must face reliving her memories, the pain of dealing with past humiliations, and also her strength in keeping the hope to be able to change her situation. In fact, she was able to flee her last captor and, after an upsetting escape, to be saved by a poor Muslim family and, finally, by the Peshmerga.
There are three male characters: Abu Kacher, Abu Mosa and Ayman.
Abu Kacher, a Saudi, is the first man who takes her from the building (a school) where the Yazidi girls where kept. He is a captain of a group of militia who live in a barrack far from towns. He is a violent and arrogant man who rapes her every night and doesn’t consider her as a person; he never speaks to her, only the first day:
“Listen to me very well” he says keeping Hana against the wall and with his face a few centimetres from her face “if you give me even one problem, if I have to fight to have what is my entitlement, tomorrow you finish directly in the room next to the dormitory, where every night at least five or six men will come to visit you. Rougher than me, among other things. Do you understand, beautiful Yazidi with grey eyes?”
When he is tired of Hana, he sells her to the Slave Market in Mosul.
Abu Mosa is the man who bought her in the Slave Market. He is a Iraqi man who lives in the hinterland of Mosul in a house that Daesh took from a Christian doctor. He is a “religious” man, he follows the Hibah and checks, going around in the city, that all the people respect the religious rules. He wants that Hana converts to the Muslim religion. Hana will be able, with a strategic plan, to escape from him.
Ayman is the positive male character of the novel. He is a Yazidi captain of the Peshmerga and he falls in love with Hana. He helps her to get over her trauma after she was able to escape.
Comments from readers:
“This is a book that you read as a novel but also, at the same time, it is an accurate investigation, that moves you and sets deep reflections on the female destinies marked by unacceptable violence. Young women and innocent girls of whom we don’t know the indelible sufferance.
The author was able to communicate excellently: also in the most painful moments, what I perceived was, over all, the great dignity of these women.
Besides being a beautiful book, this an educational journey.”
Fulvia Viola, writer
(…) The moving novel by Claudia Ryan, built through testimonies, that she gained regarding “a hell” to which the media gave only a few lines and a global indifference. A story that you can’t miss.
From a review by Mariapia Bonanate on the magazine “Famiglia Cristina”, 17th July 2016