JIYAN — The Forgotten Victims of ISIS

In February 2020, JIYAN premiered at the Kino International in Berlin. Guests, speakers and panelists included ISIS survivors Najlaa Matto and Hakeema Taha, policy makers such as German Development Minister Dr. Gerd Müller, subject matter experts such as Dr. Jan Ilhan Kizilhan and Dr. Alexander Schwarz, and artists and activists such as Katja Riemann.

“JIYAN – The Forgotten Victims of ISIS” shares the fate of protagonist Najlaa Matto, who was abducted and enslaved by ISIS as a young woman. “They tied me up. Covered my mouth. So they could abuse me. I had no life left.” In the film, Najlaa begins a journey to Kocho, her home village in Iraq. She returns to the place where her martyrdom began. To the place where ISIS made her an orphan three years earlier. In a refugee camp, Najlaa meets former fellow prisoners, first and foremost her cousin Lamya, who gave birth to two daughters during her own captivity – children whose fathers are Lamya’s murderers’ parents.

Najlaa’s journey resembles a procession. A journey of suffering with ever new stations, painful memories, but also a resurrection. Today, Najlaa says: “I am stronger than the IS”. She lives in Germany and addresses her important message about the genocide of her religious community to the world and the international conscience. As a representative, she bears witness to the dead.

The documentary film by HÁWAR.help founder and chairwoman Düzen Tekkal shows crimes against humanity that are already on the verge of being forgotten in view of the ongoing conflicts in the region. Therefore, this film not only portrays the fate of a resistant woman. It is an appeal for human rights and a reminder of the international community’s responsibility. And it focuses on the faces and the stories of the victims. The film makes it clear: If the perpetrators go unpunished and there is no justice for the Yazidi people, the lives of surviving women like Najlaa will be scarred forever.



The production of JIYAN was supported by:


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