In The Prayer of the Yazidis, Japanese photojournalist Noriko Hayashi tells the stories of Yazidi families who have fled when the Daesh (ISIS) attacked their home, the Sinjar region in Iraq, to their eventual refugee shelter in Germany. In her images, Hayashi portrays sacrifices made necessary by the hasty escape, and the attempt to make a new life in the confines of their refugee life. In addition to the photos, stories and testimonies by the Yazidi refugees form an essential part of the book and are available in Japanese and (in abbreviated form) in Kurdish, English and German.
“The mountains are bathed by beautiful blue moon light. Right before dawn, the women living on the foot of the mountain start making bread into an earthen oven for breakfast. When the sun rises, the inhabitants pray facing the sun. Here in northwestern Iraq, the Shingar mountains, with an elevation of 1,463 meters (4,800 ft.) spread east to west, and affluent human life takes its course in harmony with nature. The people living in the Shingal mountains and surrounding villages are called "Yazidi". They have been living here protecting their own peculiar religion and traditions, which were passed down from generation to generation.
On 3 August 2014, Daesh (Islamic State) started attacking Yazidi villages and towns in Shingal. Since then, it is believed that Daesh has murdered about 5,000 and abducted a further 6,000 Yazidis. Women are subjected to sexual, physical and physiological violence. Their peaceful life was suddenly taken away from them.
"For two weeks, we were incarcerated in the basement and almost starved to death. I found a needle there. I took it and thinking about my parents carved in my forearm "Dad, Mom, I love you". (Sarah)”
— from the publisher’s description