“60 Minutes” First Met Murad Five Years Ago Shortly After She Escaped from ISIS
The fragile, frightened woman 60 MINUTES found five years ago after her escape from ISIS found the strength to tell her story and seek justice for her Yazidi people. Nadia Murad received the Nobel Peace Prize last year for her efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. Now she has joined forces with human rights attorney Amal Clooney in her fight to seek justice against ISIS for their crimes against the Yazidis. She and Clooney will appear in a Scott Pelley report to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Oct. 13 (7:30-8:30 PM, ET/7:00-8:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Murad appeared on the 60 MINUTES 2014 season premiere. She was found by 60 MINUTES associate producer Rachael Morehouse a few weeks before, living among Yazidi refugees who had escaped ISIS. Thousands of Yazidi men were massacred, and more than 3,000 women and girls as young as 9 years old were enslaved. Murad agreed then to speak to Pelley with her face covered, hiding her identity out of fear of retribution against her family members she believed were still held by ISIS; Morehouse held her hand during the interview. Nadia spoke about the genocide of her people and the women who were taken and sold into sexual slavery. In a new interview for this Sunday’s story, the Nobel Laureate speaks with her face uncovered.
“At the beginning, rape was a big shame for me and for others to speak about,” she tells Pelley. “Because it would have remained as a shame on you, on your family and on your people. The biggest incentive that made me talk was those left behind including my mother and sisters. I knew what was happening to those in the captivity of ISIS.”
Her path to the Nobel Peace Prize began when she joined an activist group in Germany. It took her to the U.N, where she became a human rights ambassador and then wrote a book. The U.N. recognizes the genocide that happen to the Yazidis, but there are more steps to secure a trial. Clooney agreed to help.
“I saw it as a test of the international system. It was so egregious because it involved ISIS and involved a clear case of genocide. It involved sexual slavery at a scale that we haven’t seen in modern times,” says Clooney. “I thought if the U.N. can’t act in this case, then what does the international rule of law even mean?”
60 MINUTES accompanied Murad back to Sinjar days after she received the Nobel. She brought a replica of the medal next to the mass grave that contained her mother’s remains. “I wonder if [my mother] knows that I have talked to the world about her silent death, the killing of her six sons and her two nieces,” Murad says. “I often feel that what I have been doing is because of her. I wish that she could know about it. She may be happy because the world now knows what ISIS has done.”
HONG KONG – The people of the former British colony are clashing violently with police in mass protests aimed at the Chinese government they say is threatening their freedom. Holly Williams reports. Robert G. Anderson and Aaron Weisz are the producers.
NADIA – Scott Pelley tells the story of a Yazidi woman who survived a genocide. He first met her five years ago in a refugee camp, shortly after she narrowly escaped from ISIS. That woman, Nadia Murad, went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize last year for her efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. Rachael Morehouse is the producer.
PSYCHEDELIC SCIENCE – Can psychedelic Sixties drugs treat people for the depression and anxiety that often come with cancer or even addictions to tobacco and alcohol? Anderson Cooper reports on some promising studies. Sarah Koch is the producer.
The thought of dying was killing Kerry Pappas. Then the cancer patient took a trip on psilocybin – the active agent in “magic mushrooms.” Ever since, she says that she is perfectly comfortable with her life. Pappas is one of dozens of cancer patients whose painful anxiety over their illness was commuted to more peaceful acceptance, after participating in a study that involved intensive therapy and being given a drug that was once a symbol of the ‘60s counterculture. She and others, who say the psychedelic experience helped them overcome other problems like depression and addiction, talk to Anderson Cooper for a report on the study of psychedelics inside some of the country’s foremost medical research centers. The story will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday, Oct. 13 (7:30-8:30 PM, ET/7:00-8:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Pappas was being treated for lung cancer when she was given the psilocybin. This is what she tells Cooper she saw. “An ancient, prehistoric, barren land…there’s these men with pickaxes, just slamming on the rocks,” she recalls. “I was being shown the truth of reality. Life is meaningless. We have no purpose.” And then it hit her, she says. “I look, and I’m still like a witness with the eyes, a beautiful, shimmering bright jewel, and then it was sound…booming, booming, booming. Right here, right now. Yes, you are alive. Right here. Right now. Because that’s all you have.” She tells Cooper: “That is my mantra to this day.”
Cooper speaks with participants and scientists who conduct clinical trials. Roland Griffiths, of Johns Hopkins University, is a pioneer in psychedelic research, which was studied extensively until former President Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Thirty years later, Griffiths received FDA approval to study psilocybin. The results amazed him. “The red light started flashing. It’s unprecedented – the capacity of the human organism to change. It just was astounding.”
The experiences of the study participants on psychedelics, even under the highly controlled conditions used, are often harrowing but still worth it in the end. Researchers screen out people with psychotic disorders or with close relatives who have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. So far, none of the participants reports any serious adverse outcomes.
Griffiths said he is optimistic about the potential therapeutic value of the drugs but acknowledges they can be harmful under different circumstances. “Let’s be really clear on that…We’re very aware of the risks and would not recommend people simply go out and do this.”