Despite the rubble and damage to Mosul’s streets and alleyways, residents are coming together to restitch the fabric of Mosul’s formerly complex, ethno-sectarian make-up.
In eastern Mosul or al-Sahil al-Aysar, the ‘Left Bank’ as it’s known in Arabic, civilians gather on the streets of the city in a popular cafe. The damage in eastern Mosul is considerably less than its western counterpart after the former’s liberation in February. Here, the locals sit and talk about the city’s past and their hopes for the future.
One of these people is Abu Jalal who is from Mosul and professes love and affection amongst all of the Iraq’s communities, especially between communities in the north and south, opposing extremists who have perpetually tried to create sectarian strife and difference.
“The son of Mosul goes all the way to the south and nobody disturbs him. If he gets into a problem, everyone is ready to help him,” said Abu Jalal. “Likewise, if someone from the south comes to the north, if he gets into a problem, everyone is ready to help him, whether it’s with money, medicine, or anything else.”
Abu Jalal also denounced sectarianism and extremism saying that in the past “there was no discrimination. Nobody knew whether you were Sunni or Shia” and that people would intermarry, regardless of their ethno-sectarian makeup.
“There are many who are married to Shi’a, and Shi’a who are married to Sunnis,” continued Abu Jalal. “If you just walk and ask 5-6 people you will find that there are some Arabs married to Kurds, or a Kurd married to an Arab. There is no problem.”
Abu Jalal is one of many Moslawis who are coming together to rebuild the city. Artists have returned to their profession, rebuilding the city’s ancient works destroyed by ISIS, while students and teachers have conducted a campaign to clean Mosul’s technical institute after its near complete destruction.