As we know, ISIS has been terrorizing the world for several years now, especially in the Middle East where they have established a Caliphate. ISIS’s brutality against women has been particularly egregious – rapes, murders, enforced marriages, sex slavery. Those who were too young, old or infirmed to be “useful” were simply murdered. Talk about a war on women!
That said, it was particularly heart-warming to me to learn about the “Sun Ladies.” Who are the “Sun Ladies?” Well, I can tell you what they are NOT. They are most definitely not women who spend their days relaxing at the beach sipping Mai Tais. No, the SL are former Yazidi female captives of ISIS who have escaped and have now joined the fight against their former captives. Literally.
The name, “Sun Ladies,” is an homage to the Yazidi culture. Approximately, 2,000 Yazidi women managed to escape captivity during the coalition’s bombing of ISIS strongholds on Mt. Sinjar, where they were being imprisoned. Hundreds of them have enlisted to fight. Most of them are still in training, but some 100 of them have already formed an all-female battalion and joined forces with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. They are not only eager for revenge, but also to free thousands still being held. Since mid-November they have been fighting alongside the Peshmerga in small battles, but they, and everyone else, realize the definitive battle will be for Mosul. Mosul is ISIS’s primary base in the area and is also where many Yazidis are still being imprisoned.
These SL are primed for battle. Listen to Captain Khatoon Khider: “Whenever a war wages, our women end up as the victims. [In the camps, imprisoned] women were throwing their children from the mountains and then jumping themselves because it was a faster way to die.” Another former captive tells of a mother who was prohibited from breast-feeding her newborn. When the baby continued to cry, the terrorist beheaded it. Another former captive, Nadia Taha, is fighting for her enslaved countrywomen in a different way. Taha, who was repeatedly raped and beaten before escaping, has addressed politicians in several countries as well as the UN, imploring them to take action against ISIS.
Who are the Yazidi? ISIS dismisses them derogatorily as “devil worshippers,” but that is inaccurate. The Yazidi are a distinct ethno-religious people numbering approximately 500,000 who live mostly in Northern Iraq. Some also live in Syria, Germany, Russia and elsewhere in Europe. They have their own culture and religion. They believe in one God, but one that is different from that worshipped by Christians, Jews or Muslims. The Yazidi faith has some similarities to Christianity and Islam as well as other ancient religions. They are often mistaken for Kurds, but they consider themselves to be distinct from them. In fact, many of them consider the Kurds to be an offshoot of Yazidism.
It is heart-warming to see these people fighting back against the evil that is ISIS. One can only hope that their story will inspire others to join the fray. However, it is merely a good start; they need considerable help. The pure evil that is ISIS is everyone’s enemy, and a real “coalition of the willing” is essential for defeating it.