Badeeah Hassan was just 18 when she witnessed firsthand the horrors of the 2014 genocide of the Ezidi people by ISIS forces. Captured by ISIS, known locally as Daesh , Badeeah was among hundreds forced into a brutal human trafficking network made up of women and girls of Ezidi ethnicity, a much-persecuted minority culture of Iraq. Badeeah’s story takes her to Syria where she is sold to a high-ranking ISIS commander known as Al Amriki, the American , kept as a house slave, raped, and routinely assaulted. Only the presence of her young nephew Eivan and her friend Navine, also prisoners, keeps her from harming herself. In captivity, she draws on memories and stories from her childhood to maintain a small bit of control in an otherwise volatile situation. Ultimately, it is her profound sense of faith and brave resistance that lead her to escape with Eivan and reunite with family.
Since her escape, Badeeah has brought her harrowing story of war and survival to the world’s stage, raising awareness about the little-known acts of genocide against her culture and the strength of a people unknown to many around the world. This captivating account of courage extends beyond the confines of her experience; Badeeah’s story is about the resilience of women, girls, and persecuted groups everywhere in the face of seemingly insurmountable oppression.
About the Author
Badeeah Hassan Ahmed was 18 when her village was invaded, and she was abducted by ISIS. Throughout her ordeal, Badeeah managed to keep her and her nephew as well as another abducted woman’s spirits alive by telling folk stories and reminding each other of their strong Yazidi spirituality. She managed to escape, and today studies language and nursing in Germany. Her goal for the future is to share with humanity the gentle, peaceful faith of her Ezidi culture, and give back to her people.
Susan Elizabeth McClelland is an award-winning journalist and recipient of the 2005 Amnesty International Media Award. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Table of Contents
A Cave in the Clouds | Table on Contents
A Note from the Authors ix
Chapter One: The Purpose of Life 3
Chapter Two: Spoils of War 15
Chapter Three: The Stranger 26
Chapter Four: Invasion 41
Chapter Five: Sabaya 51
Chapter Six: Prisoner 62
Chapter Seven: Adrift 70
Chapter Eight: On the Other Side 79
Chapter Nine: In Between Heaven and Earth 87
Chapter Ten: Awakening 99
Chapter Eleven: Immortal 108
Chapter Twelve: The Dark Room 113
Chapter Thirteen: The American 119
Chapter Fourteen: A Cave in the Clouds 130
Chapter Fifteen: Jinn 136
Chapter Sixteen: Death 149
Chapter Seventeen: Houses 156
Chapter Eighteen: Reunion 164
Chapter Nineteen: Escape 170
Chapter Twenty: Return to Iraq 180
Chapter Twenty-One: We’re Not Afraid of Darkness 194
Chapter Twenty-Two: Return to Love 206
Chapter Twenty-Three: Giving 212
Chapter Twenty-Four: Freedom 216