International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day
On International Women’s Day we pay tribute to the Yazidi women resisting ISIS on the front lines and interview famed war reporter, Alfred Yaghobzadeh, who has documented them.
Words and Images: Alfred Yaghobzadeh
“There is no ranking in war and atrocities. No matter the creed, race, or state. In all the wars I have covered they all look the same, there are always atrocities, whether in Mongolia or Afghanistan. It is between men and men and the victims are women and children. I am there as a witness, and I cannot judge the war.
There is no good side or bad side of the war, war has no faces. If we take Afghanistan war; Americans arrived to restore democracy, but it complicated the situation, and there are still fighting. I have lost hope in “restoring democracy”.
You never get desensitised to the atrocities of the war, unfortunately battlefields are now a new market and a new power for the West.
In 2015 I went to photograph Yazidi women as the victims of ISIS. Most of them were hiding their face. I felt an urge to tell the world of what was happening and to be a witness. I was appalled to see how ISIS captured women and sold them as sex slaves.
Then, with more research, I found out that they are now taking arms and fighting against ISIS. I started to research and find contacts that would lead me to these women fighters. I delivered the message that they must show the world that they are not afraid of ISIS. It is important to witness what these women are now taking arms against their oppressors.
All of these women faced the same destiny; to be captured, raped, beaten, tortured. Some were raped more than others, others beaten more than others. But the pattern is the same.
With the horror and atrocities, these women had to face a new reality. It gave them power to decide about their own lives. Like to take arms for instance, and hence be the sole defender of the family. It’s like the nightmare of these atrocities opened a new chapter in their outlook on life.
But they are still more than 2, 000 still prisoner by ISIS. Today, no one speaks about them, the world has forgotten about their captivity and their story.”
For more, visit alfredyaghobzadehphoto.com
About: Alfred Yaghobzadeh has been photographing those affected by conflict since the Iranian revolution interrupted his studies as a teenager in 1979. His assignments have taken him around the world, reporting on major conflicts in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He was wounded and taken hostage in Lebanon’s civil war, and was lucky to survive after being seriously wounded in Chechnya some years later.
His work has received the World Press Photo first prize, first place in The American Overseas Press Club and the NPPA Best of Photojournalism. Alfred also won the first prize in the International Festival of Journalism and Scoop in Angers, and the Fuji Europe Awards.