Following the resounding success of last years Peace Festival held in Mosul just two months after the liberation of the city from the grips of ISIS’ tyranny, the people of Mosul are making preparations to hold a second peace festival. The volunteers hope that this festival will promote the city‘s unique culture and heritage, whilst also promoting tolerance and cohesion between people of different background and sect.
Another key feature of this year’s peace festival, which is due to be held on the 21st September 2018, is encouraging journalism and combatting online hate and abuse, especially on social media platforms. “Everyday, we see abusive [comments] on social media. Hopefully, our workshops, during the International Day of Peace, will address these issues. We will be training bloggers and journalists who will seek to counter negativity online,” said one organiser.
Volunteers are also hoping to invite Arab and non-Arab musicians and artists from across the region and the world to take part in the festival and raise the festival’s profile. The festival is a chance to celebrate the city’s artistic culture as well as the arts in general after ISIS militants strictly forbade music and limited most forms of artistic expression.
After the end of ISIS rule, the people of Mosul have taken it upon themselves to rid the city of any remnants left behind by the group. Festivals have been organised to celebrate their liberation as well as the city’s cultural, religious and ethnic diversity.
Young people, in particular, have taken up a more active role to foster cohesion and help restore their city to its former glory. A group of 23 volunteers have come together to restore the University’s iconic library, which was home to the richest collection of books in the country. Another example includes students from the Institute of Art, who have taken steps to revive Mosul’s artistic heritage.