Documentary Sabaya: Social issues raising Documentary (GS Paper I : Art and Culture )

Documentary Sabaya: Social issues raising Documentary (GS Paper I : Art and Culture )


Swedish documentary film Sabaya directed by Hogir Hirori is a documentary which shows the pathetic conditions of sex slaves of.  This group generally work for the sex slaves who are arrested by ISIS  in Al-Hawl. This documentary was shown in its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 30 January 2021. Al Hawl is a outstrip town of Syria where this refugee camp is situated 

The award-winning documentary by Hogir Hirori reflects  the struggles of activists determined to save Yazidi girls and women who were arrested by the “Islamic State.”

 Story of the documentary 

In the beginning of the film it has been shown that ISIS, an Islamic terrorist group has been defeated. In this movie it has been shown how Mahmud and Ziyad, volunteers of the Yazidi with other fellows, visited the  dangerous internment camp al-Hol. At this place  approx 73,000 individuals from 58 countries are living in tents. Most of them were supporters of ISIS and belonged to the family of ISIS .

Yazidi girls are Hidden among them.  They were kidnapped by IS to serve as sex slaves. These girls are called “sabaya.”

The ISIS people abducted these girls five years ago, when IS captured the province of Sinjar in Iraq.  massacre against the Yazidis in 2014 in the region was the symbol or mark of the beginning of the genocide of the ancient religious minority.

 Immersive cinema

This is very appreciable that Mahmud, Ziyad and the small team of the Yazidi Home Center saved the captive Yazidi.  The  filmmaker Hogir Hirori joined them to document their dangerous rescue missions.

The documentary Sabaya was presented at the Human Rights Film Festival Berlin in Sept 2020 . This film was shown for the first time in Berlin and because of the covid pandemic the director could personally attend due to COVID. This documentary Sabaya has already been shown at 30 international festivals . It is the most appreciable documentary and has won the 2021 World Documentary Directing Award at Sundance as well as  other prizes.

About the director 

The director was born in Kurdistan. Kurdistan is a place near Sinjar  where ISIS had captured these girls. This director learnt a lot of things from these experiences also. Although he has been living living in Sweden since 1999, 

 Sabaya is his third film. Besides Sabaya and the Girl Who Saved My Life (2014) and The Deminer (2017) other two films directed by him . These films are also based on the impact of war in the region. 


After this film many international agencies came forward and rescued these women . now days this area is not under the control of ISIS and most of the sex slaves have been rescued but still 2,000 – 2,800 girls are missing according to various estimates.

After  the completion of the film, Ziyad, the director of the Yazidi Home Center had to leave Syria because ISIS is still trying to control this region . But this director is continuing his work and showing the world the pathetic condition of women in this area. 

By Dr Anshul Bajpai 

22nd september 2021 current Affairs Download

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