When the Yazidi genocide by ISIS terrorists in Iraq begun on August 3rd 2014, then 21-year-old Marwa Al Aliko, knew something terrible was going to happen.
She, her parents and seven siblings tried to escape from their home that morning, only to be caught by ISIS terrorists along with a hundred other people.
“They took women and children in cars and the men walked,” she told the audience at a special event held by the Israeli mission to the United Nations on Thursday. “We didn’t know what would happen to us.”
Until today, Marwa, who later managed to escape from captivity and slavery with the help of strangers and an uncle, explained she still doesn’t know what happened to the men.
“I miss everybody that was captured that day, but the person I miss most is my father,” she said, through her interpreter.
Today, she dreams of becoming a lawyer in order to fight for the Yazidi population in the legal arena.
Al Aliko was invited by the Israeli Mission to the United Nations as it held a special event about the refugee crisis on Thursday, focusing mainly on trauma treatment for the Yazidi refugees who have escaped ISIS and the war in Syria and Iraq.
The event, initiated by the Mission’s UN Youth Delegate Noga Levy, included the participation of Director of the UN refugee agency’s New York office Ninette Kelley as well as Yotam Polizer of the Israeli NGO IsraAID, who presented the work his organization does with refugees on the shores of Greece and even inside Iraq.
“For us the refugee crisis has also been an amazing opportunity to build bridges,” Polizer said. “With all the suffering from the conflict, it’s become an asset for us to develop trauma expertise. Expertise that we developed from our own trauma to help these people.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon, who opened the event said that for him, “As a representative of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, the stories of these refugees are particularly powerful.”
“The Jewish people, in its long history knows the hardships of the refugee experience,” he said. “So we feel a genuine solidarity with today’s refugees.”
Danon added that “many young Israelis, like young people all over the world, are driven by a sense of hope.”
“We train our youth to go out into the world to make an impact and bring change. The youth represent the idealistic spirit and the hope of a better future for all,” he added. “We need your energy and your spirit to transform the world, so that young people like Marwa who share the same dreams and the same hopes for the future, will have the same opportunity.”