The Fallujah Cultural Centre has opened in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which is located in the country’s western Anbar Province.
Founded by academics and intellectuals from Fallujah, the cultural centre hopes to promote erudition and knowledge in a city that is known for its historical embrace of literature and culture.
The centre, which was opened with the support of the Fallujah Youth Forum, also intends to target young people by organising scientific, philosophical and even political seminars. The aim is to get young people engaged in learning and new ways of thinking, particularly in a city that has been attacked by extremist groups’ violent ideology.
The youth need to have awareness,” said one of the centre’s participants. “I support the founding of such centres because such steps are healthy and progressive.”
With the dust settling, Fallujah is slowly coming back to life. The city was the first to fall into ISIS’ hands in January 2014, and while the city was mostly taken back by Iraqi forces by June 2016, the fighting left widespread destruction and dark memories in the city.
However, the hope is that initiatives like the establishment of a cultural centre mark a positive step towards a brighter future for Fallujah.
In other areas of the city, local people and organisations have been attempting to rebuild their homes amidst a lack of support from regional and international organisations and governments.
For women from Fallujah whose husbands have been killed, local organisations are providing support and care, which is giving them a little respite from the burdensome effects of caring for an entire family.
Other women are exploiting employment opportunities by rebuilding and painting damaged schools. This not only provides them with an income, but helps restore schools in the city, thereby allowing children to return to proper education, some after several years due to ISIS’ rule.