‘Like the end of the world’: Mosul musician who defied ISIS describes life in ‘destroyed city’
Ameen Muqdad, who gained notoriety last April for playing the first public concert in Mosul after the city was liberated, told RT that the defeat of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) was a “great moment,” but that the state of the city following the operation is reminiscent of “the end of the world.”
“What's happened is really a disaster. They say they liberated this side of the city, but they liberated what, exactly? They only liberated the land, not the humans, because thousands are dying,” added Muqdad. “The city is destroyed now.”
The musician lived for more than two years under IS rule, and spent six months in hiding after the terrorist group found his instruments. Music was strictly prohibited in IS’s de facto “capital” in Iraq, and instruments were rounded up and burned in the streets. But Muqdad, who now lives in Baghdad, says that life in “liberated” Mosul is far from a return to normality.
“Many, many people are dying because of inadequate medical care in the city,” Muqdad said. He said that people are dying even from relatively minor injuries because all the major hospitals in the city have been destroyed and proper medical equipment is severely lacking.
Muqdad says that while horrific stories of oppression under IS rule provided years of material for journalists, interest in the plight of civilians who survived the occupation – and assistance in rebuilding the city – has been negligible.
“We feel like we are forgotten by the government and the international forces,” he said. “We are trying to rebuild our city … but the disaster is bigger than [that], you know? The civilians there, like me, have deep trauma. We have almost broken souls.”