This arresting documentary critiques the limits to western compassion as it follows the Iraqi activist and Isis rape survivor on her lonely human rights pilgrimage
Alexandria Bombach’s arresting documentary raises a significant question: has our compassion on international human rights become Malala-ised? Are the west’s media and political classes able to focus their concern only when they are gallantly scandalised by the ordeal of a young woman, such as Malala Yousafzai (shot by the Taliban in revenge for campaigning for women’s education) or Nadia Murad, the heroine of this film? If so, it is putting an intolerable strain on these women, being idolised and endlessly scrutinised and asked to be the redemptive symbols of our own well-intentioned compassion.
Murad is a remarkable young Iraqi woman from the Yazidi ethnic community who survived being kidnapped, beaten and repeatedly raped by Islamic State in the course of its genocidal slaughter in 2014, which wiped out much of Murad’s family. She has since become a dignified and eloquent human rights advocate, and this year was the joint winner of the Nobel peace prize.
Link : On Her Shoulders review – the heartbreaking life of Nadia Murad, survivor of genocide