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The Embrace

“To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

Ecc 3:1


"A time to embrace."


My name is Tahsin. I am 18. I have two brothers and five sisters.  I was born and raised to a simple family from Qataniya village in Sinjar.  Our life was good until August 3, 2014 when Daesh invaded our village, destroying our homes, raping our women, killing everyone they came across, and taking our families into their captivity. Life changed in the blink of an eye. We saw, heard, and experienced agonies that no human being should know.

Tahsin as a baby

I was eight years old and to be honest I was terrified and remain anxious to this day. My family grabbed a few possessions and fled to the mountains where we somehow survived for two weeks, along with many families who were hiding, and sharing the little food we had managed to take.


After two weeks we made it to the city of Duhok which is close to Shariya camp ( at that point the camp did not exist ) where we lived in a school along with many displaced Yezidis for some four months until the camp was opened.


I remember that we had only been there four days when we received the devastating news that my older sister and her five children had been taken into the captivity of ISIS. My parents had been looking and asking everyone, which is one reason that we remained two weeks on the mountain, in the hopes that she would come.

Sister Rihan - left: during captivity right: before captivity

The moment that we received the news, my father collapsed  and was hospitalised. He has never recovered. My father, as I knew him until I was eight years old, was lost that day. He is a very sick man both physically and mentally.


My mother also became sick. Genocide is just that, it kills everything and takes everyone captive. My mother has weekly sessions with Mr. Noori and also is treated in the local hospital.


Until this day, almost ten years later, we have no information about my sister and her children. I track social media closely as sometimes clues about those still in captivity can be found. A few years back I found this picture of my sister, Rihan, in captivity. There were other pictures depicting her torture and torment. I never let anyone in my family see or hear about these pictures. They were too awful for human words. Sadly, very sadly, my father eventually discovered because it is impossible to silence an entire camp, and yet again he died inside. 

It was totally awful.  We have lived for ten years bearing the scars of pain and fear.

When I discovered Springs of Hope, I decided to overcome my shyness and registered for a sports course. From sports, I went to a computer course which I graduated with success. During this time I began tracking the organisation’s social media and was attracted to the music. I registered again, this time for a guitar course and found my calling in life. I am a musician.


Teacher Natik became like a big brother to me, offering advice and direction on how to make the right friends, live a clean life, how to make wise choices and how to make my family proud.


I am still learning but I have been given the role of guitar teacher which is a dream come true for me.  It is a joy and an honor to teach students younger than me that which I have learned. I am slowly gaining confidence in myself, finding social situations easier, and becoming less shy than I was.


I love my work and want to thank everyone in the organization who has believed in me and given me the chance to work and help support my family with dignity.

I ask you, friends of Springs of Hope, to think of my family, especially my sister and her children and to ask God to bring them back to us. Thank you.”


“Our task is to make music with what remains.” 

Violinist Yitzhak Perlman on playing a concerto with three strings, the fourth having broken. 


Tahsin, you play well with three strings, and will teach the generation following you to play with three and even with two. And those two will create a beautiful sound, previously not heard in this land.


Tahsin, we embrace you. 


"A time to distance oneself from embracing."

It was so hard to refrain from embracing Barzan and pulling him back close, as we released him to the next chapter in his life. I think that in the seven years that I have walked closely with him, I have spent more hours talking with him than with anyone else my entire life. Our conversations have taken hours, and just when I would think that we are winding down, he would ask “And is there anything else we should discuss at this time?” and we would begin again.


Springs of Hope has been his total embrace for seven years. It is time for him now to stand alone, in sight, but alone. I think of the spring months when Dr Saeed and Khero walk about with their long pruning shears in hand, I look at the trees just putting forth their spring leaves and I shudder. But I know that pruning is vital. Without pruning there can be no growth. It is time for his season of pruning.

Barzan’s title was Abu Almas. The Father of Almas, our first foal. Almas means Diamond. Barzan was there doing night watch when Newroz gave birth to Almas, Barzan helped ease Almas out of her womb.


Barzan has been “fathered” for seven years. He brought a diamond into the world, and he himself is a diamond made strong by years of suffering. We are so grateful to have been able to give him seven years of healing, of love and restoration.


As we release ourselves and him from this embrace, our prayer is that he will live up to his title Abu Almas, and will bring many more diamonds into this world whom he know how to father and raise sons into their destiny.


Many of you have “loved” Barzan from a distance. We ask you to keep him and his journey, his life calling in your thoughts and prayers as he pulls away from our embrace.


Can you help?

With your help we embracing many with healing, love and restoration.


Every donation makes a huge difference.


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