Life under ISIS in Mosul was dangerous and miserable, not just for ordinary people, but for children as well. Especially those who have a creative inclination. Farah was 14 when ISIS took her beloved city and imposed its ruthless and draconian rule. In order to escape the horrors she was seeing on the streets of Mosul and outside her home, she made her room into a safe haven away from all the misery.
ISIS’ control of Mosul pushed the city into isolation. Families were torn apart either as a result of displacement or the rampant killings that took place under ISIS rule. Farah felt a similar sense of isolation as all her friends fled the city, as did her two sisters.
Farah also stopped attending school, which under ISIS was little more than a place where the group would indoctrinate impressionable young people with their propaganda. ISIS changed the curriculum in order to promote their violent ideology and hateful discourse. According to testimony from children and teachers themselves, at the core of ISIS’ educational system and curriculum was a need to promote violence and terror.
Education in Mosul as well as other liberated areas is still a growing issue as thousands of students return to school. However, due to a lack of resources and the sheer scale of the destruction, the system is deeply strained. The war and the actions of ISIS militants have left many schools in Mosul and across Nineveh in dire need of rebuilding.
However, now that the city of Mosul is free of ISIS, there is hope for Farah that her family and friends will return and that life can continue as they were before the militants took the city. She has returned to school after a three year absence and is ready to rebuild her life and future.