Women in the War between Men

6 years ago

By Karwan Anwar


As she greeted in Arabic, I asked, whether she was from Mosul? She was scared that I knew she came from Mosul since it was our first encounter.

I asked her to feel safe and do not be afraid. I have graduated from the University of Mosul and am familiar with the regional language and the city.
The woman covered from head to toe with her eyes filled with fear and many questions she gazed at me with confusion.

How may I help you? I asked politely.

In her handbag she brought out some identity cards with some pictures, certifications, and acknowledgement letters. I looked at the documents and I recognized its owner. One of the identity cards was issued by Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate-Mosul Branch, another by AP and a local Television in Mosul. The documents show that the woman’s husband was a hard-working Arab journalist who had worked with different media agencies.

Where the owner of the documents was? I asked the woman.

Her answer startled me!!

These documents belong to my husband who was abducted in 2014 when Daesh took control of Mosul. Afterwards, I and my children never saw him again. After two years I got his documents and his Camera back, however, my husband doesn’t have a grave and never had a funeral. ‘’You will never see your husband again, he is dead now’’, the Daesh whom gave me his belongings back told me.

“I am sorry for your loss.” I offered my condolences.
She thanked me, May God have mercy on us all.

When did it happen? I asked.

In 2014, two weeks following the invasion of Mousl, she replied.    

What did you do after the incident? I said.

‘’Unable to do anything or to escape, I stayed in Mousl with my children, two of them are married and the other three are with me’’, she continued.

She told me, she was born in 1978 and got married to (M-deceased husband) in 1993, and have five children… ‘’ May God destroy Daesh, we were living a very good life before the cruel and ruthless creatures came to Mosul.’’ She expressed it with anger.

Inside Mosul: what's life like under Islamic State? I asked.

‘’How life was under the rule of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria cannot be described easily; I believe none will ever be able to do describe and write about life in Mosul under Daesh. We have faced death thousands of times during the three years we lived under the rule of ISISI’’, she answered. 

She told me that, their house located in Tamim district, and after it was seized by the Iraqi forces, they have right away left Mousl and come to Sulaymaniyah. She indicated that, our house was destroyed by the coalition air forces’ missile since its roof was used by the jihadist fighters to fight the coalition forces. She stated that, it was a miracle that her family survived the attack.

 ‘’Now we are homeless and have nothing at all, in heavens we have God, and on earth we have the Kurds, only’’, she disclosed.
Why us Kurds, we have not done anything for you, yet? I interrupted.

 ‘’That is true’’, she added, ‘’ however, I am certain that unlike Arabs, you are compassionate and kind-hearted people. I am definite that, you respect women and widows as human beings, not as…’’ she started crying after she uttered the last words. Then, the children started crying with their mother, which was unbearably painful to any considerate human being.

I educed that, this destitute woman and her family have lived a dreadful and horrendous life with ISIS killing her husband and using her house as barracks. She informed me that, the Popular Mobilization Forces are not so different from the Daesh jihadists because they both have the same mentality and violence but different sectarian ideology. For that reason, I left Mosul with my children leaving the terrible memories behind. I only took the family photo album and my husband’s notebooks and headed to Sulaymaniyah.

In the end, she stated that, I have seen the horrors of men fighting men in Mosul that I promise to never go back to Mosul again.
This story proves that, Mosul is one of the many cities that men destroyed and there are still countless women who are victimized and forced to live in a world where men fight men.


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