“These men are murderers of the devil, not men of the Qu’ran.” The words of a mother in Mosul who lost all three sons to Daesh during their control of the city.
Fifty-six-year old Hadiya’s sons were police officers. That was sufficient reason for Daesh to take them away, never to be seen again. “Every day we smelled fear, we smelled death”. But now Hadiya, like the rest of Mosul’s population, must rebuild their shattered lives.
Thousands of families are having to cope with both the physical damage inflicted on Mosul’s infrastructure and the psychological trauma resulting from torture and execution. Ahmed Yasir was lashed and had his right hand smashed for simply smoking a cigarette. The first thing he did when the terror group was driven away was to light one up. “It’s not easy to leave a 32-year-old vice,” he muttered.
War has disrupted so many basic services. All are having to be repaired, from the water supply to basic sanitation, food and health care. This is going to take at least six months to achieve. The larger infrastructural challenges and economic dislocation wrought by Daesh rule will take five years to fully resolve at a cost of billions of dollars.
Small and medium sized businesses cannot wait that long. Every day without work is a continued loss of revenue. For this reason, the business and trading community have begun re-opening their premises before any cash arrives from the government. The upside of liberation is that they are no longer subject to extortion by Daesh to raise funds for its insurgency.
Tragically, much of Mosul’s heritage that was wrecked by Daesh will prove near impossible to restore. The world watched in horror in 2015 as thugs smashed their way through the city’s museum. Those artefacts were part of Mosul’s history and identity, as the terrorists fully realised. Their aim was to wipe out the past so that the only reality would be a Daesh-ruled present and future.
When the terrorists occupied the city’s university in June 2014, they set about destroying its collection of ancient manuscripts. A campaign has been launched to try and restore the precious library. Donations of books and printed material are being requested online from donors all over the world. The campaign slogan is: “Let it be a book, rising from the ashes”.
Slowly, Mosul will recover. Thousands of people will return to their homes. School children will resume a full and proper education. Families will begin to live in peace. But the scars left from the last three years will prove very difficult to heal.