Caliphate Chapter 9: Prisoners (Part 2) | New York Times Audio Series (Transcript)
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AM: Chapter 9: Prisoners, part 2.
AM: So can we start at the camp? Will you just describe what is this place and why are we there?
RC: So about a week after Mosul was liberated, you and I drove north to these refugee camps where the remnants of the Yazidi community are now living. These camps are basically cities of tents where entire families are living under a plastic or a canvas roof. And we had come to this camp in particular because we had heard that two young Yazidi women who had managed to survive three years in ISIS‚Äôs hands had just that morning been reunited with their families.
RC: We met my friend Falah, who had agreed to translate for us, and he walked us to the specific tent where the two women had just been brought.,Aad as we reached the tent -
RC: Are they coming to welcome them or to‚Ää‚Äî‚Ääyes, I see.
RC: We noticed that there was a crowd gathering. I saw somebody with a tray of soft drinks. I saw somebody else with a basket of clothes, somebody else was bringing food.
RC: He‚Äôs crying, this man. Why is he crying, do you think?
Fal: Because it‚Äôs very sad, three years.
RC: It was essentially the community coming to rally and to welcome back two members that they surely thought were lost.
RC: We were led to this house and I realized right away that we had no business being there.
RC: Oh, my god. They look very sick.
RC: The women who had just arrived -
RC: They look really bad.
RC: They were completely out. One of them was facing upward and I could see that her eyelids were literally fluttering. People around them were crying and weeping, but the girls, they looked catatonic. I think that‚Äôs when I turned to you and said, ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve got to go.‚Äù
RC: Falah, the woman who was weeping inside, that was the mother of the girls?
Fal: Mother, yeah.
RC: Oh, my god. OK.
RC: So we stepped outside the tent and one of the uncles of the young women stepped out behind us.
RC: I saw him crying as he was coming out. Can he say why?
RC: It‚Äôs OK. It‚Äôs OK.
RC: And he just broke down. And for a few minutes, we just stood next to him.
RC: So eventually we got to sit down with one of the men who helped to reconnect these girls with their families.
Fal: He‚Äôs well known in the Yazidi community, everybody that you ask him.
RC: He‚Äôs actually a famous Yazidi figure.
RC: Remind me, how many girls did he rescue? 300‚Ä¶?
Fal: 29. 
RC: He has, by some accounts, rescued over 300 Yazidi women and girls from ISIS captivity. He said that when he picked up these women, which was basically the day before, that they weren‚Äôt comatose at all. They were awake, they were animated, they were not acting sick, but even more strangely they were acting like they were members of the Islamic State. They were refusing to take off the full niqab, which is the face covering veil, they were praising the Islamic State, they were referring to the men who had raped them as their husbands and as martyrs.
Fal: They were telling us, ‚ÄúAll right everybody, we became Muslim.‚Äù
RC: They said that everybody had become Muslim, that there was no more Yazidis?
RC: Oh, my god. Wow.
Fal: Even they told that if they told the military leader that they are Yazidi, they may put them in the jail.
RC: And is that because they spent so much time with ISIS?
Fal: Of course, three years have been passed and they were making their brain to do wash. Also, they were telling them that all the world become an Islamic State.
RC: Are you serious? They‚Äôre saying this now?
RC: He said that he began to argue with them and he explained to them that the caliphate was on its last legs, that ISIS had lost an enormous amount of territory. But he said that the more he tried to explain these things to them, the quieter they became. And suddenly what seemed to be happening was that they were falling into some sort of state of shock.