15. October 2021 – DOCUMENTARIES


On the 1st of September 2019, we hosted a screening of our documentary film “JIYAN – DIE VERGESSENEN OPFER DES IS” at ASTOR Grand Cinema in Hannover, followed by a panel discussion. Our guests included Belit Onay, Mayor of Hanover, Jihan Alomar, ISIS survivor and co-author of the book: “Dankbarkeit. Die schlimmste Zeit meines Lebens”, Najlaa Matto, who also survived ISIS and is the protagonist of the film shown today, Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and Düzen Tekkal, “JIYAN”-director & founder of HÁWAR.help. The evening was moderated by foreign correspondent Katie Gallus. The panel discussion was open to the public via livestream.

After Düzen Tekkal opened the event, Belit Onay gave a speech, reminding us that persecution and displacement are still bitter realities for many people around the world. “Before the eyes of the world, terrorist militias like the so-called Islamic State are doing everything they can to wipe out entire peoples, to erase their culture, to sell the survivors into slavery just because their faith, origin or sexual orientation don’t fit into the oppressors’ inhumane ideology.”

After that, the screening began. The film follows ISIS survivor Najlaa Matto on a journey to her home village of Kocho in Iraqi Kurdistan, the place where the so-called Islamic State invaded on Aug. 3, 2014, and began the genocide of the Yazidis, an ethno-religious minority in Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

Tense atmosphere in the hall, the film visibly moves the audience. Düzen Tekkal points out how strong and brave the women, who went through the genocidal attack, are.  Najlaa Matto: “I was afraid to talk about what I experienced, but I did it anyway. Why? Because rape is still happening, in Yemen, in Syria, in Congo, in Mali and many other countries. It is for these women that I stand here today.” She reminds us of the 3,000 women and children that are still in captivity in Iraq and Syria.

Jihan Alomar is also a survivor. She talks about how difficult it was for her to watch the film in the auditorium today. Jihan was captured by ISIS when she was ten years old and enslaved like many other Yazidi women. She lost many family members. After months of captivity, she managed to flee to Germany with part of her family through a humanitarian quota programme. She is co-author of the book “Dankbarkeit. Die schlimmste Zeit meines Lebens”, in which she tells her story and talks about the fate of the Yazidis. She wrote the book together with Marvin Jiyan Balletshofer, who died last year in a car accident. Today she is presenting her book.

During the evening, Dr. Maria Flachsbarth from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development emphasizes the importance of humanitarian special quotas: “We must try to bring those who are particularly in need of protection to Germany through humanitarian quotas to give them the chance at a new start.”

Listening to survivors of war crimes is important. Interacting with ISIS survivors always moves us deeply and reminds us of what we fight for tirelessly everyday: that the perpetrators are prosecuted and that these crimes never happen again.

We would like to thank all guests and spectators for tonight’s event and our partners GIZ and BMZ for making this event possible!