Online Event: Reviving the Jewish Memory of Mosul

Special Event: “Reviving the Jewish Memory of Mosul” A conversation between Omar Mohammed and Sally Shalam, Daughter of a Mosuli Jewish Man Thursday, October 15, 2020, 6:00 PM (BST) Register in advance for this meeting: Here

COVID19 Updates from Mosul: Is A Disaster On Its Way?

I just spoke to the head of #COVID19 crisis cell in Mosul, he said the situation is out of control, suspecting more than 2000 cases in Mosul. No testing devices and the government has no control over the city’s boarders. No enough buildings to quarantine people.

The already damaged hospitals are full of Corona cases, he also indicated that if they reveal the real numbers there will be chaos in the city. He said out of 200 suspected cases they found 20 case. They are all in the same place which will end up infected the rest of them.

The government is putting a huge pressure to take over the university housing (which is no way ready for such a situation). There are enough spaces around Mosul but they are under the control of PMU and they refuse to give it to the government.

If the government managed to take control of the university housing it will lead to a disaster, because they are located within the neighbourhoods.

Baghdad sends less than 40 testing devices to Mosul. He said “If I do more testing the number will jump to thousands.

“Hundreds of people returned from Turkey and they are all suspected cases,” He said. There are only 20 ventilators in Mosul, 5 of them are out of work.

He also said that they have sent a request to @UNHCRIraq to use the empty IDP camps for quarantine but the requested was rejected. They asked Baghdad for more support the answer was “no enough money”.

The city is calling for immediate support to control the crisis of #COVID19 this is a call to @europeaid@MoFAICUAE and @USAID to help Mosul in this horrible crisis.

In Summary: – There Aren’t Enough Ventilators to Cope With the Coronavirus. – There Aren’t Enough Testing devices. – No enough space to quarantine people. – Local gov. is unable to control the city’s borders.

The Role of the European Union in post-ISIS Iraq, Raffaella IODICE, Head of Unit, European Commission May 7, 2020

The Role of the European Union in post-ISIS Iraq” A conversation with Raffaella IODICE, Head of Unit, European Commission. A virtual event hosted by Omar Mohammed. Thursday, May 7, 2020, at 8 PM, Paris time

Omar Mohammed: A historian from Mosul and founder of Mosul Eye

Raffaella Iodice: presently serves as Head of Unit Middle East/Gulf, South Asia and Central Asia at the European Commission “Development and International Cooperation” department (DG DEVCO). Over the years, Raffaella has become an internationally respected specialist of development, particularly in the areas of war-torn countries and the Middle East. She has held posts in Palestine during the second Intifada (from 2002 to 2007), where she was in charge of development cooperation activities and relations with the Palestinian Authority, and in Egypt (from end of 2007 to end 2011), where she managed political and development relationships with the government. She lived in Cairo during the Tahir revolution and once back to Brussels at the end of 2011, she has been actively involved in all EU activities in the region during the so-called Arab Spring. She has also served as Head of Unit for the Mediterranean countries with frequent travels to Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine… In her present capacity, she is now actively involved also in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Iraq, countries she visits.

Corona Talks, 6th, Special event: Revisiting Iraq, the Land of the Two Rivers

Corona Talks, 6th, Special event: Revisiting Iraq, the Land of the Two Rivers “Dialogue Between a Soldier/Scholar turned Spymaster and an Iraqi Blogger/Survivor turned Historian” Omar Mohammed, Historian and the blogger “Mosul Eye” during the ISIS Caliphate, engages General David H. Petraeus, US Army (Ret.) (US Army, Ret.), Commander of the Surge in Iraq and former D/CIA in a discussion of the post-Saddam Hussein past, present, and future Iraq. With a special update from Mosul by the Governor of Nineveh Province and the Iraqi Ambassador to the US, Fareed Yasin. May 21, 2020, at 8 PM Paris time.

After ISIS, Secrets Of Jewish Mosul Emerge From The Rubble

By: Seth J. Frantzman and Omar Mohammed

One year after Iraq’s second largest city was liberated from the clutches of ISIS, Mosul’s diverse and rich past is slowly coming back to life.

One of the most fascinating sites to emerge after the defeat of ISIS has been one of the ancient Jewish synagogues of Mosul.

ISIS took control of Mosul in June 2014 and held it for almost three years, subjecting many religious sites — including ancient Muslim tombs, Yazidi temples, Shi’ite mosques and Christian churches — to systematic destruction. The city’s thousands of years of history that ISIS didn’t destroy was badly damaged during nine months of battle between ISIS and the Iraqi army that stretched from October 2016 to July 2017. The Old City of Mosul, on the west side of the Tigris river, was obliterated in fighting as ISIS attempted to hold every street. In June 2017, the extremists blew up the ancient Nuri mosque, an exquisite symbol of Mosul.

From the ruins has emerged a vibrant desire by local residents to revive the city’s history, cultural life and diversity. Residents who suffered under ISIS rule, as well as returning refugees, want to bring a new energy to the city as a way of showcasing both the diversity of the past and a future that will never again surrender to the extremism of groups like ISIS. “After Daesh [ISIS] everyone wants to make their life better – to get out of the bad period we were in. So we all want to move on,” Raffal Khaled told the Sawab Center, which works against online extremism.

مركز صواب@sawabcenter

Sisters Raffal and Farah Khaled, students at #Mosul University in #Iraq, stand outside the university library. #Daesh terrorists burned and destroyed most of the library books, but they could not quell the desire to learn. #AfterDaesh

View image on Twitter

221:00 AM – Jun 30, 2018Twitter Ads info and privacySee مركز صواب’s other Tweets

“It’s great to see Yazidi students back in Mosul, something we would never comprehend a year ago,” tweeted Murad Ismael, executive director of Yazda, an organization that works with Yazidis who suffered genocide under ISIS.

Murad Ismael@murad_ismael

It was great to meet today some of the 700+ Yazidi students from University of Mosul who are staying in Bashiqa. It’s great to see #Yazidi students back in Mosul – something we would never comprehend a year ago!!

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The local library has once again begun collecting book donations, the university is being renovated, and Moslawis, as the city’s resilient residents are called, are once again holding cultural events. UNESCO has also started a campaign to “revive the spirit of Mosul” which will focus on reconstruction and recovery of Mosul.

Perhaps one of the most extraordinary developments in the city is the discovery of remains of the ancient Jewish presence in Mosul. This includes Old Mosul’s synagogue, its walls tinted with blue, and a Hebrew inscription over a door, that was recently unearthed. Working with local photographers and residents, these Jewish sites are being uncovered from the rubble.

Mosul once had a thriving Jewish community whose roots stretch back to the 8th century B.C.E. There are tombs in and near Mosul that commemorate the biblical prophets Jonah and Nahum — ISIS blew up the tomb of Jonah, known as Nabi Yunis in Arabic, in July 2014.

Many other local Jewish sites were known to local people but were kept secret after the last Jews left Mosul. The community secreted away inscriptions and items with family friends; these were passed down or left aside to collect dust. The fact that they were hidden kept them safe from ISIS invaders. Some of the sites, such as the synagogue, were used for other purposes — ISIS turned the synagogue into a storage area for bombs and used it as a hideout to avoid coalition airstrikes, according to the Voice of America. The former Jewish quarter in Mosul was called ‘Mahalet al-Yahud’ (Jewish neighborhood), and now it’s called ‘Ahmadiya’.

After the destruction from the 2017 fighting subsided, we found a local resident who asked to remain anonymous and was posting photos that were circulating privately online of inscriptions and old buildings. He didn’t know what the pictures were of, but someone noticed the Hebrew letters. Residents thought one of the buildings was “just rubbish.” We checked it out and the writing on a stone lintel was indeed in Hebrew. It is not surprising that people thought the site was “rubbish” — an American soldier wroteabout finding the building in 2003 and described it as a “garbage dump.”

Mosul Eye عين الموصل@MosulEye

Anyone can read and translate the Hebrew inscription, please?
One of the Jew’s houses in old Mosul, unfortunately, it was destroyed by an airstrike, and this is what’s left of it.

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Since then, locals have found another building buried in rubble underground that they believe used to be a synagogue, as well as an old Jewish girls school and other items from the long-gone Jewish community.

Since we first posted photos online on Twitter, descendants of Jews from Mosul have corresponded via Twitter, recalling family memories from the city. “Wow, amazing, my mother was born in Mosul. It is going to be exciting for her [to see the photos]. Maybe it’s the synagogue she went to with her father on Shabbat morning when she was a little girl,” Ronit Yamin tweeted to us.

Yona Sabar, a Jewish scholar from Zakho and professor emeritus at the University of California Los Angeles told the local Kurdish media outlet Rudaw that the inscriptions found were from Deuteronomy. One of the inscriptions posted online referred to a leader of Mosul’s Jewish community who lived in the early 20th century and helped build a section of the Sasson Synagogue in Mosul.

After ISIS, Secrets Of Jewish Mosul Emerge From The Rubble by the Forward
Mosul Eye

The challenge now is to preserve these sites and items, Iraqi locals say. There are many hurdles, not least of which is that the city needs major reconstruction a year after its liberation. Religious sites face other threats as well. In Iraq, since the defeat of ISIS, there has been a stream of smugglers looting Iraqi antiquities, and scholars are concerned that local Jewish heritage items might be next.

“Iraq, which has stood up in the face of terrorism and triumphed, is fully aware of the power of culture to bring back hope and peace, and restore the agricultural sites, museums, buildings and intangible heritage that terrorism has destroyed,” Fryad Rawandouzi, Iraq’s Minister of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities, told Gulf News. “Culture contributes to peaceful coexistence.”

Seth J. Frantzman is writing a book on the defeat of Islamic State and covered the battle of Mosul last year when it was in the process of liberation. Omar Mohammed runs the blog Mosul Eye, is a PhD researcher on the history of Mosul and survived the war under ISIS while blogging anonymously about the city’s history and endurance.

To Put Mosul On The Silk Road Again

 In 1877 the term “Seidenstraße” (Die Seidenstrassen,
 literally “Silk Road”)
was coined by the German geographer, cartographer and explorer Ferdinand von Richthofen

A city from Iraq by Matrakci (Source)

Location: Once a fourishing industrial and commercial city, Mosul, in today’s Northern Iraq and the north’s major center for trade, industry and communications, was once a thriving city on the Silk Roads.

10th-century Muslim geographer al-Muqaddasi, described Mosul as

the metropolis of this region. It is a splendid city, beautifully built; the climate is pleasant, the water healthy. Highly renowned, and of great antiquity, it is possessed of excellent markets and inns, and is inhabited by many personages of account, and learned men; nor does it lack a high authority in the Traditions, or a celebrated doctor of the law. From here come provisions for Baghdad, and thither go the caravans of al-Rihab. It has, besides, parks, specialities, excellent fruits, very fine baths, magnificent houses, and good meats: all in all the town is thriving.”

Importance: Under the Abbasid Muslim dynasty, Mosul became a major economic hub on the Silk Road. From that point forward, Mosul continued to develop incredibly advanced techniques in the arts and fine goods production. It has given its name to the fine textile “Muslin”. 

The Blacas Ewer (629 AD), Shuja‘ b. Man‘a al-Mawsili. Jazira, Mosul. Photo © The Trustees of the British Museum, London

Key features: Beyond the Muslin weaving, Mosul also became famous for its fine metalwork and painting styles.. Those were only a few of the key industries that this great industrial centre was home to. Others included:

  • Crude Oil Production: Sources record crude oil production in Iraq where there were seepages on the eastern bank of the Tigris along the road to Mosul. Muslim travellers reported that it was produced on a large scale and was exported.
  • Textile Production: Mosul has always been celebrated as a weaving centre producing the finest of textiles. It’s textiles were especially famed.

(Sources and further reading 010203)

Famous Scholars: Those included the philosopher Bakr Kasim Al-Mawsili who authored an epistolary philosophical work entitled Fi’ al-Nafs; the 10thcentury astronomer and mathematician Al-Qabisi; and the infamous Opthalmologist Ammar Al-Mawsili.

Monstrously and Unbelievably Happy News: Saffarin (Repoussé and chasing) market is back to live in Old Mosul

When I saw the photos coming from the Saffarin Market (where the artisans of metalwork that belongs to the most famous school in the Middle East “Mosul School of Metalwork” a group of 13th-century metal craftsmen who were centred in Mosul, Iraq, and who for centuries to come influenced the metalwork of the Islāmic world from North Africa to eastern Iran.Under the active patronage of the Zangid dynasty ,the Mosul school developed an extraordinarily refined technique of inlay—particularly in silver—that far overshadowed the earlier work of the Sāmānids in Iran and of the Būyids in Iraq.

The market is now open again after the massive destruction of the recent battle to retake the city from ISIS. That’s makes me monstrously happy.

From Dubai to Mosul: A Shared Responsibility to Restore the Rich History of Mosul

It is our shared responsibility to restore the rich history of Mosul and to encourage the youth to deepen the understanding of their culture through the power of literature.

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development

A few months ago, I asked Sultan Al Qassemi to connect me with Juma Al Majid Center for Culture & Heritage to ask them to support the Central Library of the University of Mosul with books. He did and put us in contact. I approached them; they offered a generous list of books.
After a few days, we had to select the books we need from that list. The list was sent to Mosul; the library staff selected 271 books.
Now I have to ship the books to Mosul! How? I can’t; it was so expensive!
I thought of contacting Nancy Jamal, Official @Coalition Representative to ask her for support, as she was always of great support to Mosul and its people. She offered to ask around, but it took a little bit of time. I didn’t want to push, and Juma al-Majid centre was asking me how I am gonna pick the books!
After a little while of hesitation, I decided to contact H.E Noura Al Kaabi U.A.E. Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.
“We have some books that need to be shipped from Dubai to Mosul, can you help us”? I said.
“With my pleasure” she quickly replied.
To be honest, I was a little bit surprised. I know there is this kind of protocols of communications with ministers and officials that I didn’t want to break them. But her! She responded as a friend. She said we are friends. This made me very happy.
I received an email from her assistant telling me that they will happily want to ship the books to Mosul within the initiative Year of Tolerance 2019.
I directly connected them with Juma al-Majid centre, the communicated and coordinated.
They asked for a letter to the Iraqi commission of customs to exempt the books from taxes. I got a letter from the Central Library and sent it back.
The books were packed, shipped and arrived within only one week!
To open the doors of Mosul to people from everywhere. Now we will always remember that H.E Noura AlKaabi helped us to resupply our library. The idea behind our books campaign is to create memories, to replace it with that of ISIS’s
That’s was my goal when I launched the campaign to revive the libraries of Mosul. Books aren’t my target, but the human connection, to reconnect Mosul with its international context again.
Our Books campaign is focusing on this kind of collaboration. The simple and fast mobilization of human efforts to avoid the bureaucracy and to focus more on the idea, not the objects.
In the end, Dear Sultan Al Qassemi, Noura AlKaabi and Juma al-Majid Center:
I can’t thank you enough, but you helped me prove that the idea of the simple and effective human mobilisation is possible.
Yours Sincerely
Omar of Mosul

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