The Prayer of the Yazidis
The mountains are bathed by beautiful blue moon light. Right before dawn, the women living on the foot of the mountain start making bread into an earthen oven for breakfast. When the sun rises, the inhabitants pray facing the sun. Here in northwestern Iraq, the Shingar mountains, with an elevation of 1,463 meters (4,800 ft.) spread east to west, and affluent human life takes its course in harmony with nature. The people living in the Shingal mountains and surrounding villages are called "Yazidi". They have been living here protecting their own peculiar religion and traditions, which were passed down from generation to generation.
On 3 August 2014, Daesh (Islamic State) started attacking Yazidi villages and towns in Shingal. Since then, it is believed that Daesh has murdered about 5,000 and abducted a further 6,000 Yazidis. Women are subjected to sexual, physical and physiological violence. Their peaceful life was suddenly taken away from them.
The Prayer of the Yazidis, portraits the stories of Yazidis in Iraq and Germany who fled their homeland following the siege and massacre carried by Daesh, and touches upon issues of trauma, identity and collective memory. It is a compilation of photographs and personal testimonies written in Japanese, English, German and Kurdish languages.
"For two weeks, we were incarcerated in the basement and almost starved to death. I found a needle there. I took it and thinking about my parents carved in my forearm "Dad, Mom, I love you". (Sarah)
Noriko Hayashi (born 1983) is a Japanese photojournalist whose work focuses on social, gender and human rights issues. Noriko began taking pictures for a local newspaper in Gambia, West Africa, when she was still an undergraduate student in International Relations and Peace & Conflict Studies. Her photo stories have been recognized with awards including the 1st prize of NPPA Best of Photojournalism in Contemporary Issue Stories, the Visa d'Or Feature Award at the Visa Pour l'Image in France, the 1st Prize of DAYS JAPAN International Photojournalism Award and others and participated in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. Noriko published her fist photography book "Unholy Matrimony" by National Geographic Japan in 2013. She is represented by Panos Pictures.