After the defeat of ISIS in western Mosul, the Iraq's second largest city celebrated its liberation on July 9. The government ensured security to make the Mosul residents breathe a bit of Freedom— and took valued steps to restore normalcy in the region, though it might take some time to undo what ISIS has done, according to The Baghdad Post.
Ahmed’s wedding was the first to be observed after the defeat of ISIS in the Region. He can hardly forget the image of his cousin’s three-story house being blown up by ISIS. The footage of it was uploaded to the Internet. Ahmed is finally getting married. He and his fiancée had been separated for more than two years after he escaped to the nearby city of Erbil with his family. The couple kept in touch via a mobile phone.
The wedding celebration is taking place in the Sumer neighborhood of Mosul, liberated earlier this year. Most of the guests — dancing, listening to music and smoking — are just basically having fun for the first time since that fateful day in June 2014 when ISIS captured the city. After a few weeks of grace, the group implemented its oppressive policies, banning one thing after another. “That's why we are partying so hard!” Riad exclaimed, standing inside a doorway.
A tiny living room is filled with sweat and smoke, and music for the Dabke (Dabke is an Arab folk dance native to the Levant countries. It is performed in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Hatay and Northern Saudi Arabia) is blaring as youngsters lead in the dance. The Elderly men sit in the hall and discuss the oppressive policies of ISIS.
“One day I entered the pharmacy to buy contraceptive products,” said Neva. “I have known the pharmacist for years, so we were somewhat close in our way of communicating and interacting,” Then, a terrorist entered the shop. “He asked us why we were laughing, and then began to tell me how I should behave and the distance I should keep.” After Neva left the pharmacy, the terrorist tailed her as she walked home.
“We are usually not this intense,” a young boy said. While he tries to leave behind the bad memories of the past two years, Riad has to do so without his best friends. Most of them escaped, striking out for Europe as ISIS hit harder with its iron fist. Ziad remained behind, finally having to accept the strict rules he repeatedly transgressed. He was once jailed and whipped 50 times because he had shaved, something ISIS forbade.
The roads are filled with potholes from artillery shells, Concrete barriers block the circulation of vehicles as does the rubble of buildings destroyed in airstrikes by the US-led coalition. The residents are hoping for the normalcy to return soon. They have taken out their cars with a hope that normalcy will soon come back after the fall of ISIS.
“Everything was prohibited! Sitting in a park, going for picnics, Watching the news, using a computer, dancing the traditional dabke, wearing this T-shirt,” said Mohammad, pointing to the letters printed over on his friend's clothes.These days, young couples, groups of friends and kids lay on the grass next to a destroyed fountain. ISIS had torched the structure.
The Story was originally published on The Baghdad Post