Here is the enemy, shoeless and sulking, a few…

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Here is the enemy, shoeless and sulking, a few…


Neil Shea






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Here is the enemy, shoeless and sulking, a few hours after his capture. In the interview room he is well-behaved. The air smells of cologne and cigarettes. A policeman places a small plastic table before him, sets a cup of water there. Even ISIS fighters drink water. Sami Hussein is weary. Probably it has been a long night. Otherwise he seems unharmed. Only his thumb is discolored, black-and-blue with the ink used to sign the confession. The room is full of policemen who tick like clocks. Soon the table and the water, untouched, are removed. One cop shifts his rifle to the other shoulder, another cop begins asking questions. Sami Hussein confirms what we have heard. Many fighters have come from Europe and America, and Yaziidi girls are passed hand to hand for a few worthless moments of so-called marriage. He talks of Islam and car bombs and airstrikes. He says ISIS lured him in with tales of glory. He says he regrets joining. Or does he regret getting caught? When you left Kirkuk and went out to ISIS, did you imagine, Sami, that heaven is earned with rape and blood? Maybe you're a dumb kid who made a bad mistake. Maybe you were only a chai boy carrying tea along the front line. But these days no one remembers mercy. You will be executed. You will vanish. A commander says you should be hurried out of the light. I admit to a Kurdish friend that my heart hurts for all of this and he is stunned. Why? he says, almost angry. This guy is ISIS. But really I'm thinking of your mother, Sami. They caught you sneaking home to see her. #onassignment for @natgeo

#kurdistan #natgeo #kirkuk #iraq #instakurd #everydayiraq #everydaymiddleeast #peshmerga #isis #daesh #prisoner #onassignment for #nationalgeographic @petergwin @kengeiger @yuri.kozyrev @hawrekhalid •• a series: #kurds2015




Neil Shea, “Here is the enemy, shoeless and sulking, a few…,” The InstaEssay Archive, accessed June 20, 2019,