Students from the University of Mosul return to their studies in defiance of the harm ISIS had done to the University and education in the city.
The people of Mosul are slowly getting accustomed to normal life far away from the shadow cast by ISIS’ oppressive presence. Residents of the city were denied the most basic freedoms under the group. Young people were never allowed to congregate together and recreational activities including sports were forbidden or severely restricted.
In conjunction with this, the quality of life plummeted as ISIS plundered the city’s wealth to finance their destructive military and genocidal campaigns. In Mosul as well as other territories occupied by the group, food prices soared and there was a severe lack of jobs.
For children and students, many schools and universities were closed down or turned into institutions with a sole focus on indoctrinating the youth and promoting their hateful ideology. As a result, millions of children across Iraq and Syria were denied a basic education.
However, now that Mosul and rest of Iraq is free from the terrorist group, the country has been given a new lease of life. Markets are reopening, as are shops and recreational centres and parks. Mosul’s football team are playing again and children are starting to return to school after a three year absence.
These students from the University of Mosul explain how they are glad that the days of ISIS are gone and that they can return to their normal lives. They also highlight the resilience of Mosul residents and their determination to counter ISIS and not allow the group to change the way they think.
As one student put it, “they tried to change our mindset but we, the Mosulis, were able to resist and not change our beliefs”.
However there are still challenges, especially in the western side of the city which bore the brunt of the fighting last year. Much of the city’s infrastructure is still destroyed and many residents do not have access to basic public services.
The Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, said that efforts to rebuild the city of Mosul as well as the rest of northern and western Iraq, would cost up to $100 billion.