The Last Girl by Nadia Murad

The Last Girl by Nadia Murad

Author:Nadia Murad
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Published: 2017-11-07T05:00:00+00:00

Kathrine was born in 1998, Elias’s oldest daughter, and from the first moment she was born, she was special in our family. It was Kathrine’s teary protests that prevented Elias from moving his family out of our house. She loved my mother almost as much as I did, and she loved me. We shared everything, even clothing, and sometimes we dressed alike. At my cousin’s wedding, we both wore red, and at one of my brothers’ weddings, we both wore green.

Even though I was older, I was behind a few years in school, and so we were in the same classes. Kathrine was smart, but she was practical beyond her years and hardworking, and she dropped out of school after sixth grade to work on the farm. She liked being outside with our family more than she liked studying, and she liked feeling useful. Even though she was young and slight and quiet, she could do everything in the house and on the farm. Kathrine milked our sheep and cooked as well as Dimal. When someone got sick, she wept over them and said she could feel their illness inside her until they got better. Falling asleep at night, we would talk about our plans for the future. “I will get married at twenty-five,” she used to tell me. “I want lots of children and a big family.”

During the siege, Kathrine barely moved from the living room, where she sat in front of the television and wept for the people on the mountain. She refused to eat after she heard that Baso, her sister, had been captured. “We have to be optimistic,” I would tell her, stroking her face, which had turned yellow from lack of food and sleep. “Maybe we will survive.” My mother would tell her, “Look at your father—you have to be strong for him.” But Kathrine lost hope very early and never got it back.

Kathrine and I were put on different trucks leaving Kocho, and I didn’t see her again until Solagh, when she held on to my mother as tightly as she possibly could, trying to keep ISIS from taking her away. “I’m going with my mother,” she told an Islamic State militant. “She can’t walk by herself.” But he yelled at her to sit down, and she did.

In Mosul, it was Kathrine who had worried about me the most. “Don’t scream again,” she said. “I know what Abu Batat was doing. He did the same to me.” She knew that I had a hard time controlling my temper—she knew me better than anyone—and she wanted to help me avoid being punished. “Don’t speak Arabic, Nadia,” she’d said while we waited in the house in Mosul to be divided. “You don’t want them to take you to Syria.” The last I saw of her, I was being torn from her by Salwan and taken downstairs.

Hajji Salman and I left Morteja’s home. As we walked to the door, I saw Morteja’s mother in the kitchen, where


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