The city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh Province in northern Iraq, is hosting its third annual peace festival since liberation from ISIS.
Christians, Yazidis, Shabaks, Turkmens, Kakais, Arabs and Kurds all gathered together in Mosul to hold Nineveh’s third annual peace festival. Dances, musical performances and art works were presented at the festival that enjoyed an atmosphere of joyful co-existence amongst the various ethnic and religious groups of Nineveh province, often known to be a “microcosm” of all of Iraqi society.
“There is no way towards peace. Peace is the way. We are celebrating this philosophy today. We are promoting co-existence between the different communities and cultures that we have here”, stated Leyla Mujahid, a member of the committee that organised the peace festival in Mosul.
The festival has been organised by a variety of civil society groups that have been active in promoting social cohesion between the diverse communities in Nineveh Province, which in recent years has witnessed heinous crimes committed on the basis of discrimination by terrorist groups such as ISIS.
Academics and intellectuals also participated in the festivals and emphasised the importance of holding such events as a means of reinforcing communal bonds between groups of people that have experienced violence in recent years.
“Peace-making is done in two ways, the first socially through what you see now. People are looking for joy and stability. However, in the end, this peace can only be achieved through laws and a political process that reassures citizens in the process of receiving and handing over power and distributing posts”, noted an academic attending the event.
The concept of the peace festival has taken Iraq by storm since the liberation of the country from ISIS. Peace festivals have been organised in various parts of the country to promote co-existence. For instance, a peace festival was recently held in the province of Sulaymaniyah, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) to mark the International Day of Peace, where musicians are artists from 8 countries came to present their cultures’ traditions to a large audience.
Another peace festival was held for the first time in the city of Ramadi, in Anbar Province, last year, in one of the first celebrations of liberation from ISIS.