There are 7.5 billion human beings and one billion of them are Yazidi refugees. These families are being spilt up in the exact same manner with which slaves were separated, families in Nazi camps torn apart and now those seeking asylum in the America at the borders of Mexico and Guatemala. Nadia Murad Basee Taha can be counted among those women who were lucky enough to escape, but now has the pressure of a people put on her shoulders…literally.
Nadia Murad Basee Taha became the first Iraqi to be awarded a Nobel Prize earlier this year jointly with Denis Mukwege for “…efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.” Having been an Isis sex slave, at 21 years old, Murad testified at the United Nations about being raped, family being murdered and her dreams of owning a salon because she wants women and girls to see themselves as something special.
Along the way, she has been named the Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations, making her the first ever to hold a position on human trafficking who herself was a victim. The perpetual sadness and aged look on her face is haunting throughout this documentary directed brilliantly Alexandria Bombach (who also the editor and cinematographer).
You can feel the sensitivity with which this piece is shot as to exudes empathy and does not exploit Nadia’s story. Some of the most memorable images for me are the various moments that unexpectedly bring tears to Nadia’s eyes especially one while watching a young child sing heartbreaking lyrics that strike an emotional chord for this otherwise strong young woman. Her most jarring line is when she says “…the world only has one border…the border of humanity.” Hopefully, our world leaders will pay more attention to the suffering of young girls and women around the world instead of concerning themselves with pop culture and Tweetstorms.
As a huge supporters of not just women’s rights, but “human rights, On Her Shoulders is a film that will strike a chord for everyone and encourage one to take action and no longer sit on the sidelines. Produced by Oscilloscope, On Her Shoulders can be found in theatres NOW!