Unearthed: Inscription of the Mosuli historian’s house

Unearthed in Old Mosul today in Mayyasa district the inscription of the construction of the House of the Mousli historian and poet Yahia b. AbdulaJalil b. Yunus died 1784. the inscription reads:

خيّم اللطف على منزلكم
ولها الله بكل الخير حبى
عمرت تعمير يمن وهنا
فجلى الكرب بها والقلب نجى
ولهذا يا أحبتي أرّخو :
نفح الأرواح في دارك يحيى
سنة ١١٧٣

May kindness fills your house
and may god with give reward you with godness
the house is built with blessings and happeness
That removed all sandness and protectd thee heart
So, my beloved ones, write its history
thee brought life your house, Yahia

Year 1173 H\1759

We know from the inscription that the house was built in 1759 and belongs to Yahia Al Jalili. It is unusual to see such inscriptions to document the construction of houses. It is usually for Mosques.

Since the destruction of Mosul and we are still discovering and unearthing heritage of Mosul. It is a good sign that we didn’t lose everything but without protection for this heritage it will be looted.

Cinemas for Mosul: A call to the international community

We once enjoyed the cinemas in Mosul where we had 11 cinemas around the city that played a major role in enriching the cultural life of Mosul. Now, in 2019 no single cinema is left.

The cinemas we had: Hammurabi, Granada, Seville, Babylon, Hadba, the National theater, Al Sadun, Andalus, King Ghazi, King Faisal, and al Watan. All Cinemas stopped after 2003. Now is the time to reopen them. 
Some of the films projected in Mosul in the past: Gone with the wind, Zorba Le Grec, the Ugly American, Mother India, War and Peace, Miracle a Milan, the Bicycle thief, to Sir, with Love. And other Arab and western films. 
We deserve a cinema in Mosul, don’t we?

This is a call to the international community to help us restore our cultural life. Mosul should live a normal life as fighting terrorism is not just a military action but it requires deep understanding of the cultural roots of terrorism to tackle it down.

The revival of Mosul’s heritage will reveal keys to humanity’s resistance against violence and division. It will reveal that the only way to live together is by believing in diversity as a mosaic, where each distinct piece is integral to the revelation of the whole, where any missing piece will in the end rob all of their shared destiny. The protection andpromotion of this heritage in the contemporary culture will create safe spaces of communication between diverse groups of people. When you feel your identity is protected, you will act in a responsible way before the entire community. 

And, these are the things I want to see in Mosul: Cinemas, Theaters, Music Schools, Museums, Ballet schools and finally an Opera House. I dedicated my life to achieve these goals, if I couldn’t achieve them in my life, someone will continue. Oneday they will come true. #Mosul2019

#ReviveTheSpiritOfMosul










Mosul to Chambord: #ReviveThespiritOfMosul

I had the privilege of representing my city Mosul on June 26 at the UNESCO conference “From Mosul To Chambord” within the UNESCO’s Flagship Initiative “Revive the Spirit of Mosul”. I addressed the need for cultural recovery for Mosul especially its youth. 

As the revival of Mosul’s heritage will reveal keys to humanity’s resistance against violence and division. It will reveal that the only way to live together is by believing in diversity as a mosaic, where each distinct piece is integral to the revelation of the whole, where any missing piece will in the end rob all of their shared destiny. The protection and promotion of this heritage in the contemporary culture will create safe spaces of communication between diverse groups of people. When you feel your identity is protected, you will act in a responsible way before the entire community.

My battle since June 2014 has been to reverse what ISIS has tried to implant in the consciousness of Mosul’s residents with the only weapon I have as a historian––writing history. The social, cultural and historical destruction wrought by the group will impact the city for centuries to come. Documenting history in such a context is a battle for knowledge: to develop the critical thinking capacity of the individual as a resistance to tyranny and to protect knowledge for the future. Now that ISIS has gone, I hope a more inclusive history of the city can be documented, one that’s been missing for many decades.

Despite all the destruction, human and tangible, there are many green shoots, signs of hope among the youth, who, in many cases are for the first time exploring the history of their city and its surroundings, places they never knew of or even thought to visit before! They need concrete support to grow this yearning into tangible actions that progress their lives and safeguard a better future. This makes UNESCO’s Revive the Spirit of Mosul initiative especially unique in its possibility to rise to the challenge and build cooperation directlywith the community in all its diversity, especially its young people.  

Mosul always survives. As the medieval geographer in the 11thcentury: “The city is a large and ancient one, fortified and imposing, and prepared against the strokes of adversity.” This I can only attest to again and again, the resilience of my city. 

Demographic change in Mosul and ‘new conflict hotspot’.

What are the current major problems in Mosul?

– Security: No clear authority, PMU has the power over everyone else. – Housing: 1000s of people still have no houses in Old Mosul, others are selling their houses and leaving the city. The well respected military commander by the people Najim al Jaburi of Mosul was fired recently and replaced by another one from Abu Gharib who has know knowledge of the situation of Mosul.

– Reconstruction plans: No clear plans, attempts to seize the Old Mosul to build commercial markets. – The tension over the religious endowment between the Christian, Sunni and Shia endowments in Mosul is growing and is creating a ‘new conflict hotspot’.

– Society: ISIS families problem still unsolved and is creating more social problems. 1000s of children have no access to health, education and basic services. – Health: One of the major problems in Mosul as many hospitals were destroyed and still not been rebuilt.

– Education: 80 student for each class. – Jobs: 1000s of youth have no jobs.

“Unknown buyers” are buying 30 houses a week in Old Mosul. Sometimes they buy 20 house a day. People are leaving to Kurdistan because they have not even basic services. Government isn’t providing anything. UNDP did nothing so far regarding infrastructure or what makes people return. Local government is bargaining the locals to sell their houses. People are asking for support to return home but no one is responding to them. Two days ago people from Old Mosul told the governor we want your support to rebuild our houses, we won’t sell them. We won’t rebuild them, forget it, the governor said.

Goethe in Mosul: Ein neues Ost-West-Verständnis

Goethe in Mosul: Ein neues Ost-West-Verständnis

Goethe

Schon seit Beginn der Menschheit wunderten die Menschen sich über sich und die Welt um sie herum. Sie konnten unmöglich erkennen, was in ihrem frühen Leben Osten (rechts) und was Westen (links) ist. Dann fanden sie es und begannen, dem Leben um sie herum Anweisungen zu geben. Einige von ihnen gingen nach Osten und andere nach Westen. Andere beschlossen, in der Mitte zu bleiben. Und von da an begannen die Anweisungen, unsere Beziehung zu definieren. Jahrhunderte vergingen und die Menschheit trug dazu bei, Definitionen der Richtungen der Welt festzulegen. Und hier war die Welt im Westen und Osten (mit all ihren unterschiedlichen Auffassungen und historische, soziale, wirtschaftliche und politische Ebenen, die den vermeintlichen zwei Richtungen hinzugefügt wurden).

Nur wenige Menschen entschieden sich für ein anderes Verständnis von Ost und West. Wahrscheinlich war einer von ihnen Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, der das Bedürfnis hatte, zu humanisieren, was Menschen entmenschlicht hatten. Das konnte er in seiner “westlichen” Umgebung nicht finden und fand er in Hafiz, dessen Worte ihn dazu inspirierten, ein erstaunliches Werk zu schreiben, das den deutschen Leser “orientalisierte”, und das war “West–östlicher Divan”.

Goethe verstand die Bedeutung des “Austauschs” und der Kommunikation zwischen den Kulturen. Ein Thema, das die Menschheit geschaffen hat, aber oft vergessen wurde. Aus diesem Grund fand die erste Begegnung zwischen Weidenholzer Josef und mir statt. Das erste Mal, als ich ihn getroffen hatte, habe auch die Worte von Hafiz gefühlt. Er erklärte sein Verständnis von den Ereignissen in Mosul. Ein Mann, der die Konsequenzen des Zweiten Weltkriegs erlebt hat, hat ein besonderes Verständnis dafür, wie wichtig es ist, die Gefühle in Goethes Gedichten und Worten wiederzubeleben. Heute war ich wieder in seinem Büro, um über unsere zukünftige Arbeit zu diskutieren, um Mosuls Jugendlichen zu helfen, ihr Leben und ihre Zukunft wiederzugewinnen.

Omar

Omar

Video: The oldest church in Mosul

This church is dedicated to Saint Thomas the Apostle and is believed to have been constructed on the site of the house that the saint resided in during his stay in Mosul. The church is first mentioned in 770 as part of a grievance to Caliph Al-Mahdi. The current structure suggests it was built in the 13th century. During restoration work in 1964, the finger bones of Saint Thomas were discovered in the church. On 23 December 2009, a bomb damaged the church, killing two men and injuring five people.

After the Fall of Mosul, the relics of Saint Thomas were taken from the church by Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf and transferred to the Monastery of Saint Matthew on June 17, 2014. The church was used as a prison by Islamic State insurgents until the city’s liberation in 2017.

The church is believed to be the only one in Mosul to have a verse from the Quran (15:99): “And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death).”

We had a tour of the church and found it is very bad condition, as many historical sites around it. Rebuilding churches, mosques and synagogues can aid efforts to stabilize the city and bring back its diversity.

the Oldest Church of Saint Thomas in Old Mosul needs immediate action

The oldest church of Saint Thomas in Old Mosul needs an immediate action from UNESCO to preserve and protect it. the inscriptions and structure of the church are still abandoned.

The church is dedicated to Saint Thomas the Apostle and is believed to have been constructed on the site of the house that the saint resided in during his stay in Mosul. The church is first mentioned in 770 as part of a grievance to Caliph Al-Mahdi. The current structure suggests it was built in the 13th century. During restoration work in 1964, the finger bones of Saint Thomas were discovered in the church. On 23 December 2009, a bomb damaged the church, killed two men and injured five people.

After the Fall of Mosul, the relics of Saint Thomas were taken from the church by Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul and transferred to the Monastery of Saint Matthew on 17 June 2014.The church was used as a prison by Islamic State insurgents until the city’s liberation in 2017.

The church believed to be the only church in Mosul to have a verse from Quran (15:99) “And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death).”

We had a tour in the church and found it is very bad sitatuon of the church and many historical sites around it. Rebuilding churches, Mosques and synagogues can help in the efforts to stabilize the city and to bring back its coexistence.

Mosul Recovery: The heart of Mosul’s old bazaars is back

Souq Bab Al Saray is the heart of the bazaars in Old Mosul. The markets were heavily damaged during the battle to retake the city from ISIS. Since the liberation of Mosul, however, residents have taken it upon themselves to launch a social initiative to recover the markets.

These economic spaces have historically been an important meeting place. Mosul’s traditional houses were built near the markets because the Old City was the commercial center of northern Iraq and trade took place in the Old Souq of Mosul. Thus most wealthy Mosul residents built their houses nearby and along the Tigris River. Rehabilitating this area today is key to developing a local bustling economy again and stabilization efforts. Mosul’s artisans are also an important element connecting culture and commerce, identity and heritage, and hold much potential for the city’s recovery.

Photos from Jan 6, 2019:

They worked hard to recover it and now nearly fifty percent of the markets are back to work again.

We have followed the recovery of the Old Bazaars since early 2018. You can follow them here:

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