The Beekeeper of Sinjar by Dunya Mikhail review – the Iraqi Oskar Schindler

How an apiarist created a hive of smugglers and rescued scores of women from Islamic State

Until 2014, Abdullah Shrem was a beekeeper in Iraq, tending to his hive and selling honey across the mountains of Sinjar. Then Islamic State forces arrived, announcing their terror in symbols daubed on the doorways of the homes they raided: “They wrote the letter Y on our homes and on our stores and built a barrier like the Berlin Wall – N for the Christians, and Y for the Yazidis. S for the Sunnis, and Sh for the Shi’ites,” Shrem recalls.

The Yazidis met the worst fate: men were marched into mass graves and shot, while women were separated – young from old, mothers from children, wives from virgins. The younger were taken to a “marketplace” to be sold as sex slaves or sabaya; the older were killed or sold as domestic ...