Now that we are at 82% funded (thank you so much for all of your support!) Diana and I are gearing up our writing. We have also added a number of pledge levels to help to get us to 100% funded, including five limited edition prints of this incredible photo above which shows Diana, in the centre, with a group of Peshmerga.
As a thank you for your support here is an extract from Girl With A Gun. Diana, or Galavezh, as she was known, has become the first woman from her region in Kurdistan to take arms and join a battalion of Peshmerga.
from Girl With A Gun
I went with the men but they were not overjoyed by the prospect. I was the first woman to join this battalion and they thought it would be hard for me to keep up with them. As we left the base at Banvan for one of the villages, I struggled at first to carry my heavy rifle along with my ammunition belt weighted down with six extra rounds of ammunition.
When we arrived at a village on the top of a mountain, we went to the mosque where we had dinner while two Peshmerga guarded us. After dinner, one Peshmerga showed me how to use the rifle and how to clean it. When it was night time I asked to be put on night guard. The others were a bit reluctant to put me on guard but after a bit of persuasion, they agreed to give me the first night shift which began at 10pm.
I got into position. It was a full moon and I could see clearly into the mountains. A group of Peshmerga reported to me that they were off on a mission and I watched them leave.
Sometime later, I heard footsteps. I got my rifle ready to shoot.
“Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” I heard.
“Who are you?” I said, still holding the gun ready. “Give me the password.”
One of them gave the password and as they moved closer I saw that it was the same group who had gone out on a mission a short while earlier.
One came running over to me laughing: “Our mission tonight was to test you to see if you were capable of being a guard. None of the men are able to sleep tonight in the mosque as they are frightened you might run away!”
I was annoyed that they hadn’t trusted me, but on the other hand, I was proud of myself. Their mission had been a success. I knew that I wasn’t an experienced soldier but I was strong and brave enough to defend them.
The next guard came to take over from me and I went back to the mosque and found a corner of the room to sleep in. Before this night, I had only slept in rooms with the women, now I was sleeping among fifty men. I thought nothing of it and soon fell asleep. The next day when we woke, we all went to a villager’s home for breakfast. I had passed my first test.
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