Artists paint messages of hope over ISIS propaganda in Mosul


Young artists from the city of Mosul are taking it upon themselves to remove any reminders of the militant group's horrific rule. Beautifying the walls with artwork that covers ISIS propaganda is causing a positive effect on the psychology of young people in the city.

Young people from Mosul are making their city’s walls more beautiful by using their skills to paints over ISIS’ messages. After the militant organisation was defeated in Mosul on the 10th of July 2017, numerous initiatives have been undertaken to return life to the city after it was occupied by ISIS for over three years. In addition to rebuilding homes and cleaning up rubble, positive messages have been painted on the city’s walls to cover the propaganda and threatening messages spread by ISIS.

The Islamic State: May our families and wealth be sacrificed for it,” read one of ISIS’ messages on the wall, reminding Moslawis that everything they own can and will be taken to serve the so-called caliphate. After the defeat of the group, however, the walls of Mosul began reading messages of hope and positivity: “In this world [there is something] worthy of living for,” a line of poetry written by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, intent on reminding people of the positive things in life.

“I carry my colours and brushes, and take to the streets looking for ISIS graffiti so that I can erase them and cover the walls with beautiful artwork,” says Abdulraham al-Dulaimi the young Moslawi who has taken it upon himself to add colour across the city.

This is not the first time that the city of Mosul has seen such an initiative. Earlier this year, a young group of Moslawis launched the project “Make it Prettier” which sought to erase ISIS graffiti from the streets and walls of Mosul and replace it with hopeful and positive messages.

These paintings around the city have not gone unnoticed. Many of the city’s citizens have shown their appreciation of initiatives like this. “The psychological implications [of this initiative] affects the whole community, especially us youth,” says Laith Mohammed Hadi, a young Moslawi.

Because they are the most visible objects on a daily basis, the use of walls to spread positivity and hopefulness helps bring Mosul and Moslawis a sense of normalcy, reminding them that they have survived ISIS’ brutality and now they must work together to rebuild their devastated city.