A Letter From Mosul
by Translator Momen Muhanad
Before telling you who I am and why what I do matters, let me introduce you to the silver lining of my cloud. For three years, I lived under ISIS control in Mosul. Those three years made me forget who I am and how the outside world looks. At that time, I worked 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, just to help my family make ends meet. All I did was work during the day and sleep at night. I had no future plans whatsoever; I didn’t even think I would be able to make it out alive. However, In 2017, after fierce battles that left my beloved city in ruins, Mosul was liberated. Having gone through all of this, I was thirsty for learning. I was dreaming of going back to school and doing my homework. I started appreciating what it actually means to have a normal life, potable water, and stable electricity. Most importantly, I finally realized that knowledge with no doubt is the most influential weapon against evil.
My name is Momen. I am a translation student at the University of Mosul, and I am currently working as a translator for Bayt Al-Hikma 2.0 project.
We live in a world where media is a dominant force, which can easily shape people’s perspectives. Over recent years, people have had countless misconceptions about Mosul. Unfortunately, this is due to the fact that Mosul is mentioned whenever terrorism and war are brought to the table. But, in fact, it’s a city of peace, kindness, and hospitality. A city that struggled and sacrificed greatly just to see the light again.
Mosul has always been known for being the cradle of leading experts and high quality of education. People used to come from other cities and countries to study at the University of Mosul, which was one of the top universities in Iraq. Nevertheless, after education was suspended by ISIS, it fell behind. Mosul bled so much that it went dry. It lost many of its cultural sites including the Central Library which was burned to the ground along with thousands of treasured books.
Now, Mosul is getting back on its feet. It’s changing the false images and stereotypes depicted by the media. Hopefully, everything will be better than before, thanks to the young generation. None of this would happen if it were not for the awareness that came from education and enlightenment.
By transferring knowledge into Arabic, I want to prove that we, as Iraqis, are able to make the world a better place. I hope to show the world that we are capable. We have dreams and ambitions like everyone else. I am aware that what I do is really small compared to the chaotic world we live in, but there is no way that is going to stop me. I will be grateful if only one person benefits from my works. I truly believe that a tiny act can have profound effects.