Mediha Alhamad

On a quest for healing and justice 

Mediha Alhamad was kidnapped and enslaved by ISIS when she was 10. Now, this young Êzidî woman goes on a brave quest: for justice, for internal healing, and for her missing parents and brother. She does this with a combination of vulnerability and determination. ‘I’m scared but I’m trying not to be,’ she says. ‘It’s my dream to speak freely.’ 

‘Ever since I returned from ISIS, I falter when I speak,’ Mediha Alhamad says at the beginning of the documentary Mediha. Before ISIS came, Mediha’s childhood was simple and beautiful in her home village of Sinjar, in Northern Iraq. However, as she explains: ‘We Êzidî have faced hundreds of years of suffering because of our beliefs.’ When Mediha was 10, ISIS started targeting the Êzidî territory. They conducted mass executions on the men and the elderly, and enslaved women, girls and boys. The boys – among them Mediha’s younger brothers Ghazwan and Adnan – were to become child soldiers. The women and girls were forced into sexual slavery.

Mediha was kidnapped, and in the years that followed she was bought and sold by ISIS fighters four times. After a few years she was rescued. When she returned home, however, she was ashamed about everything she had been through. ‘But now, I’m no longer ashamed,’ she says. In Mediha we see her – at the young age of 15 – reclaiming her life. It’s an incredibly brave journey: from opening up about her anxiety attacks to a psychologist, to trying to find her missing family members, and ultimately courageously bringing her former captor to justice. These days, Mediha is fighting for the rights of all oppressed minorities in the Middle East.

Mediha will be shown at the Movies that Matter Festival 2024.