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LEMONS, GRAPEFRUITS, oranges and figs grow in abundance in the three gardens of Nadia Younis Butti’s house in Mosul, the house her parents built from scratch. She used to enjoy the lush trees and alluring fruits, sitting in her rocking chair near the flourishing, scented bushes. On July 17, 2014, however, Nadia had to leave Mosul, because ISIS had captured Iraq’s second-largest city. “With pain in my heart I left,” she says.
ISIS has been ousted from Mosul and Nadia, who belongs to the Assyrian Church, recently returned to visit the city of her birth. “It is still extremely dangerous in Mosul,” sighs Nadia, adding: “I just spoke to a police officer who lost a colleague this week. He was shot at night. A lot of Mosul’s inhabitants collaborated with ISIS for three years, and some might have relatives or family members who were even part of ISIS. There are a lot of Sunnis who have supported ISIS.
City - Iraqi - Army - Shiites - Mosul
“The city was liberated by the Iraqi army, which is supported by many Iranian Shiites. In Mosul, they are met with a lot of distrust: they aren’t seen as allies. For me, the city has not become safe since its recapture.”
“Islamic State will always remain in Iraq.” Nadia read the message written on the wall of Mosul’s famous monastery of St. George, Mar Gurguis. The former representative of the UN and the World Food Program in Mosul lets the words sink in, as she surveys what remains of the monastery, which has been almost completely destroyed by the extremists.
Spring - Fall - Christians - Monks - Monastery
“Each spring and fall, Christians gathered here with the monks in this monastery for three days,” Nadia says; “there were activities and we could spend the night here. That was a time without worry of great joy.”
Nadia walks through the imposing corridors of the monastery, of...
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