From Kurdistan: A Son’s Undying

By Sabro Kejo

In the high desert plains southwest of Sinjar in Iraq, Sufyan Jassim began his life in 2002. His family lived in a small village called Siba-Sheikhedr and his mother, Ahlam Mia’a, lovingly greeted him along with his father. Life in the village was not easy, yet it was filled with love among close family and friends.

Not soon after, his father divorced his mother and, as is the tradition in their culture, he took custody of baby Sufyan. However, this did not deter Sufyan and he frequently would visit with his mother who had moved in with her brothers. She loved him dearly and gave him full compassion.

On the evening of August 2, 2014, after playing and working hard all day, the ten-year-old went to bed unaware that would be his last night in the comfort and safety of his home. Unaware he would never see his mother again because during the night, ISIS arrived with no warning.

Through all the chaos, Sufyan was able to flee and climb up in to Mt. Sinjar where he was relatively safe from harm. However his mother and all her brothers were destined to be taken as captives of ISIS. He soon learned his mother’s and uncles’ fate and he was full of grief.

Determined to do something about it and despite his young age, he joined the mountain’s forces defending the Yazidis. Thankfully, he was able to keep in contact with his mother for a short while and he promised to emancipate her with all his capabilities.  He changed his faceook name to “my mother is my eyes.” He wrote nostalgic posts about his mother and was always looking for topics related to mothers.

Sufyan never wavered in his pursuit of rescuing his mother. However, on April 25, 2017, G-d had different plans for him. On that fateful day, Turkish planes bombed Sinjar Mountain and he was instantly killed by a Turkish airstrike.

His mother was able to escape a brief two months later on June 24, 2017.  A bittersweet event, to be sure. She began asking around about her son and, at first, thought perhaps his father was preventing her son from coming to greet her. However, a few hours later she ran into a friend of her ex-husbands asking if he knew the whereabouts of her son who had been so loyal to her during her first days of abduction.

From the look on his face, she deduced something was terribly wrong. To her shock, she was informed that her son had left the world and gone to his last resting place. Smashing her face and tightening her hair, she wailed in grief. She was then taken to the cemetary where she embraced the dust of the tomb in which he was put to rest. Their final meeting, of which both had waited for almost three years, was only in a windy cemetary.