Walking on eggshells: Yazidis clearing ISIS landmines

Healing yourself from a nightmare takes courage, but to heal yourself from a never-ending funeral takes real bravery. To wake up each morning with 99 problems on your mind, knowing that taking the wrong step cannot be one of them, is the ultimate dream for Hana Khider — a wife, mother to three beautiful children, and leader to an all-female team of Yazidis deminers in Sinjar.

The documentary, Into the Fire, directed by Orlando Von Einsiede, captures perfectly the work of fearless Yazidi women. And while defeating the enemy may sound like a happy ending, this documentary, released on May 20, shows how it can actually be the beginning of a new massacre.

Into the Fire, directed by Orlando Von Einsiede

After 4 years of constant torture, rape, and murder of the Yazidis by The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), some of the Yazidi families (including Hana’s family) returned to their destroyed homeland to find explosive devices planted everywhere for them — in their houses, pots, pans, and toys.

They live on a land filled with landmines ready to explode. Not a single week passes without an explosion. The parents live in fear of losing their children at any moment. Their traumatized kids are growing up to the sound of explosions.  

They are growing up on a land that is packed with death wishes. Though the nightmare had ended for the Yazidis, the torture is still ongoing. They did not get the chance to heal from the previous trauma they had experienced for the past 4 years, they are now forced to deal with another one. 

What stands out the most in this documentary, however, is neither the bravery nor the struggles. Instead, it is the pure smile you see on Hana’s face — a woman who used to have a perfectly normal life with her family. Now she is trying to get back to that normal life by putting her life on the line every single day, without hesitation.

Hana’s smile is bringing back the hopes and dreams of many Yazidis in Sinjar, a place that was once severely destroyed. Her smile is shining through every street and corner of the town filling the place with aspiration.  

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