Karim Kanaan Wasfi, a musician from Mosul returns to his city to send a message to the world about the culture and heritage of his city, through the universal language of Music.
Karim Kanaan Wasfi is a musician from Mosul who is attempting to bring together and display the various elements of the diverse communities in the Nineveh Province of northern Iraq through his musical performances. His music focuses on a number of issues, including the revitalisation of a culture of tolerance between the plethora of religious and ethnic identities in Mosul and beyond.
The era of ISIS saw the dramatic rise of sectarian violence in Nineveh Province as the terrorist group attempted to impose its totalitarian rule on the local population. The extremist ideology that drove ISIS’ actions saw the world in black and white. Anybody who diverged even slightly away from this ideology was to be punished severely on the grounds that they are veering away from the terrorist group’s imagined utopia. Indeed, Mosul was the centre of this dangerous ideological machine. The city was eventually liberated in mid-July of 2017 by the Iraqi Security Forces.
One such minority community which suffered gravely at the hands of ISIS was the Christians of Nineveh. Karim Wasfi visited the predominantly Assyrian Christian town of Bartella to spread his message of peace, tolerance and coexistence. He witnessed the reopening of the Bartella Cultural Centre, regarded as one of the most important centres for intellectual and cultural development in the Nineveh Plains.
Similar initiatives have been launched to bring together communities across Nineveh and (re)build trust between them. For instance, a “Marathon of Peace” was organised in the town of Bartella for this very purpose in May 2018. Also, during the month of Ramadan, a mass iftar was organised by the Assyrian Church in Bartella, which brought together Muslims, Christians and others to share food with one another on an occasion that is normally only marked by Muslims.
The lack of government presence in the Nineveh Province has allowed for, an perhaps motivated, local actors, volunteers and civil society organisations to take the initiative and take action that is conducive to communal peace.