Translated by the Secretariat of Iraqi Civil Society Initiative
Just outside the southern Iraqi city of Mosul, women of Nimrud danced to the melodies of Assyrian songs and Arab folk music. They danced for peace and for the return of life to their city since its liberation from Daesh. The dancing was part of a festival, the first of its kind in Nimrud, itself a part of the “Bridging Communities in The Nineveh Plains” project, funded by the German government and implemented by the Italian organization, Un Ponte Per… in partnership with YMO (Young Messengers Organization), EOD (Ezidian Organization for Documentation), DAK (Ezidian Women Organization for Development).
The festival attendees came from all over Nineveh, and included some of the oldest inhabitants in the region (mostly minorities) who reside in the “Martyr Mar Bahnam and his Sister Sara” monastery in Nimrud. The monastery was liberated from Daesh by the Iraqi forces on 13 November 2016.
Also included in the festival was an exhibition of the region’s heritage, including artifacts discovered by minority groups living in Nineveh — Christians, Yazidis, Muslims, Shabaks, Kakais and Turkmens. The ancient fishing and farming tools on display made evident the amazing technological achievements of early humans in Iraq.
“Zaruna and Drum” melodies enticed young men and women dressed in lively spring colors to join in popular folk dances, another expression of the rich culture of the region and country.
Though the festival was primarily a celebration of the city’s culture and history, its organizers did not want attendees to forget the horrors recently committed by Daesh. They played a film about the destruction of the ancient city of Nimrud during its occupation to remind people how much they had suffered and how far they have come.
The festival was attended by more than 600 people from all around the region, including local officials, government officials, civil society organizations, Muslims, Christians, Shabaks and Kakais as well as military officers. The closing ceremony involved the display of a large white banner on which was written: “We are back together…We will stay together”. This slogan expresses hope for peace and harmonious coexistence among all people of the city. Attendees also enjoyed a delicious meal of the most famous Iraqi foods especially the “dolma” made by the women of Nineveh.
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