About This Video
ADEEB AND DOHA lived in a small Christian village in Iraq. They had a good life and lived in a beautiful house with their extended family. Adeeb was an English teacher, and Doha stayed home with their four children. They had just bought land on which to build their own house.
“But now we cannot go back,” Doha says.
One day last August, ISIS began shelling their village. The family was taking shelter in the garden.
“My son, David, was four years old,” Doha tells us. “He and his cousin were playing, and a bomb landed on him.”
David and his nine-year-old cousin Milad were killed. The bomb not only destroyed the house, but also David’s body. The children in the village brought pieces of his body to his family. One of Adeeb and Doha’s sons found his brother’s ear.
The people in the village took pictures, and Doha wants to know if she can show them to me. When I nod, she gets out of bed and moves over to the cabinet. From a shelf of neatly folded clothes, she pulls out a large envelope. Inside are official papers regarding David’s death and a stack of photographs.
On top are photos of flesh and body parts that are no longer recognizable as human. Pictures of her son. In silence, she hands them to me one by one. At one point she looks away.
She pauses on a photo of smiling young boys. She hands it to one of the other women in the room, who tells me it is David with his cousins before the bombing. Underneath it are photos of injured children in torn clothes lying on beds, their bodies blackened and bloody. One of them is another of David’s cousins.
“Why are we suffering like this?” Adeeb asks. “My children had to pick up the pieces of their brother…. I am so sad, thinking about all this.”
AFTER THE BOMBING, most of their friends and family fit whatever they could into their cars and fled the village. Adeeb, Doha and their children stayed behind to take care of David. Adeeb washed what was left of his son’s body, and they buried him.
By the time they left, ISIS wouldn’t let them take anything with them, including their car. “ISIS took everything from us,” Doha says.
They walked for days. Sarah, who was born with a paralytic condition that affects her legs, was on crutches. Adeeb shows me where he had to mend one of them after it broke.
They lived on the streets, fending off stray dogs at night. “No covers, no clothes, no money,” says Doha.
Eventually, the family took shelter with others refugees in a school in Erbil. A local church had turned it into a refuge. Adeeb, Doha and the children were there for a month and half.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.