The Beekeeper by Dunya Mikhail tr by Max Weiss and Dunya Mikhail

Staying alive doesn’t mean permanent survival. Anyway,what is survival when the calamity survives along with you? To survive all alone is the worst kind.


Format eBook
Publisher New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date Mar 27 2018
Language English
Pages 240
Price $16.99
ISBN-13 9780811226134
While i was reading this book i remembered the promise mankind promised to itself when the horror of holocaust was revealed to mankind and that the holocaust would be the last genocide mankind would face, but since humans and nations  have short span memories we repeated the same mistakes and genocides again and again with a short term remorse and a long term amnesia.
while i was reading this book also i remembered some of my friends and cousins who have joined ISIS  in 2014 and 2015 not because of their love for death or killing but because their need for belief and their belief that ISIS was going to change the fate Sunni of Syrian and Iraq who were massacred by their country government, were they among the monsters who have kidnapped and killed the Yazidi women in Iraq,but they are all dead and i cannot ask them about their deeds or beliefs anymore.
this short book took me a three compete days to read not because of my busy life or lengthiness but the amount of horrors contained in it forced me sometimes to stop and run away from it and sometimes contemplating to stop turning the pages.
this book tells the story of modern Schindler the Beekeeper Abdullah who transformed after ISIS attacked his hometown in 2014 from beekeeper to human smuggler who smuggles Yazidi women abducted by ISIS from Syria,
Yazidi plight starts as ISIS starts a ferocious attack in mount Sinjar which is home to small Yazidi religious minority who their faith is linked to ancient Mesopotamian  religions with a small amount of Islam and Christianity and Zoroastrianism added in it.
after the attack the whole population was to school were men were first divided from women and after gathering men in big trucks they were driven to big trenches were they were shot to death and the old women with their grand children were driven to small fish pond  were they were buried alive, the remaining women then were driven either to Mosul or Raqqa where they were sexually enslaved.
these book is collection of victims testimonies and these victims are the lucky ones who were smuggled from ISIS grip but what is lucky if you come to home where most of your family member are either kidnapped or killed.
our first victim is Nadia who according to ISIS price list worth $85
Nadia was sold to Chechan man who bought her with her children and usually beat her and her children if they didn’t recite Quran correctly and used to rape her in front of her children
 beside being sex slave to ISIS member show was forced to work 12 hours a day making detonator and rockets eventually after tired of her life one day while ISIS member was absent she escaped from the home and went to internet cafe where she called her cousin Abdullah who managed to smuggle her out of Syria and she was able to come home where some of her family survived.
our second victim is miss Raghda
img_1062 (2)
 miss Raghda with her children also were kidnapped from Iraq and sold in Raqqa slave market with her children and were used as cheap workers in rocket manufacturing and here is a transcript of a conversation with the two young children
What’s your name?
How old are you, Hoshyar?
Where were you before you came to Baadhra?
With Daesh.
Where with Daesh?
In Syria.
Hoshyar, were you in a madrassa with Daesh?
No, I was in one of their houses.
What were you doing in the house?
Who was teaching you Quran?
Abu Jihad.
Why were you there?
They made me go with them.
Where did they take you from?
The man who was teaching you Quran, where was he from?
And how did you know he was from Russia?
He told me.
Who else was there with you?
My mom and my sister and three children with their mother.
Did they teach all of you Quran?
Yes. And we built rockets.
What were you building?
Rocket, rocket.
And what do you remember from the Quran?
I was in Syria with Daesh.
I want to know what you can remember from the Quran.
In the Name of God, most gracious, most compassionate, praise be to God, Lord of the two worlds, the gracious, the compassionate, master of the Day of Judgment . . .
Do you know what that means?
No, no I don’t.
Hoshyar, what did they feed you?
Bones. Abu Jihad would eat meat and then give me the bones. I couldn’t eat the bones but he used to make me stand on one leg for an hour.
Were you afraid of them?
He told me he could cut my head off if he wanted to.
Why did he say that?
He told me to pray, he said that when I grew up, God willing, I would go fight with Daesh.
Hoshyar, where are you right now?
In Baadhra.
Is your situation okay right now? Better than being with Daesh?
I’m at home. I’m good.
Thank you, Hoshyar. Could you hand the phone to your sister?
How are you, Rula?
How old are you?
Can you tell me what you did when you were with Daesh?
They beat me while we made rockets for them.
What kind? And how did you make them?
TNT. From chemicals.
Did you also study Quran and prayer?
Did you understand the words you were memorizing?
Who was your teacher?
What was the name of the person who taught you?
Abu Jihad.
Did you learn how to pray?
Yes, but now I want to forget.
using these small children to work in the dangerous manufacturing Chemicals was one of the instances that forced me to cry while i was reading the book and made me rethink about reading this book but i continued and after chapter you dive deep into this innocent people misery and how sometimes life is unfair to certain people.
while this book continues telling the survivors of these genocides the author delves deep into her past and her family past as also a christian minority who were treated better than the Yazidi people and were only forced to leave the city without their belongings.
but most important person is Abdullah who thanks to his dedication to saving his people from ISIS was able to start a small smuggling unit which was able till the publication of the book to smuggle 70 people and return them to their families or what remained of


    1. it really is hard to read this book and the testimony of the victims of this genocide and sometimes contemplated stopping reading it.
      but also beside another problem i had was the guilt and shame i felt reading this book because as Muslim seeing people who used your faith and belief to enslave other people.
      people who read the same texts as i did but used believed these texts too literally and believed by using middle ages customs and punishment believed it would create a heaven in earth.
      this also added the sense of shame and guilt i felt while reading these book


  1. Wow, excellent review. I saw this one when it came out and it’s been on my to-read list but I knew it would be a tough read too. But it sounds like it might be even harder than I imagined. This treatment is horrific, to treat children like that…it’s just beyond anything I can imagine. Thank you for sharing your thoughts…even when it’s hard to read stories like this I think it’s so important not to look away, and to celebrate the people like this man who decided to do the right thing despite great personal risk. Glad to read your review on this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot Ren am sure this book will be on your tbr , This book was quite hard to read but also very important to read also somehow the honor the testimonies of these victims and hopefully by knowing what happened to them it will stop it from repeating again hopefully.
      whatever your cause if it allows you to torture and kill small children it is rotten cause and books like these helps Muslim youth from falling into ISIS hands and show their ugly face, so book like these should be used to honor and remember this amazing women who survived many odds but also this book can stop many Young men from believing ISIS propaganda and it shows their true and ugly faces.
      Thanks a lot my friend for your praise it really means a lot to me

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. As hard as it is to read and know this, I think it’s exactly as you say – a way to honor the experiences they’ve had to live through. I really hope that susceptible Muslim youth would also encounter stories like this and see how ugly and horrific it all is and choose another path, that would be the best possible outcome to what all these poor women have been through. Loved hearing your thoughts on this!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks a lot Ren.
        reading books like this can stop and save many youths from the road of radicalism and show the receiving end of terrorism mostly innocent women’s and children.
        i hope soon enough i could review books like you, you have amazing book way of reviewing books.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. What a strong, brave woman!!! And what a coward he is. Still has to say he was under pressure from someone else instead of taking responsibility for his own disgusting choices actions. The stories of these Yazidi women break my heart, they’re treated as less than human. Thanks for sharing this…incredible to see!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. At least they’re safe now. But what terrible experiences to live through. Thank you for sharing the children’s testimony – it sounds so matter-of-fact, just how a three year old would speak. I can see why you had to keep stopping your reading… I’ll look out for this book. Ali

    Liked by 2 people

    1. their safety is the most important thing because it allowed them to give testimonies about the horror ISIS inflicted upon them and hopefully prevent young Muslims from believing ISIS propaganda.
      that part was the most hardest part to read and it was n the beginning and the more you read the scary and ugly the testimony it become so that is why i sometimes contemplated stopping reading these book.
      i will look forward to read your review

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is hard to read and so i could not recommend it any person, but to also to honor these brave and heroic women with their strong and pure soul who were able to survive this nightmare i forced myself to continue reading this book.
      the world needs more to be more humanitarian and tolerance than it need more technological innovations.

      Liked by 1 person

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