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Reviving the history of the Jewish community of Mosul, Iraq

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Omar Mohammed

As a historian, I understand the difference between what happened and the “narrative of what happened”. A difference that led me to try to understand the history of my city, Mosul, which has enormous gaps that makes it almost impossible to comprehend what happened. It was instead the “narrative of what happened” what we received from the past.
This made me ask myself: While most of the communities of Mosul had their history documented, why was the Jewish history ignored and kept off the record? What happened to the Jews of Mosul? Who are they? How did they live in Mosul? What did they use to do in their daily life? What did they think of every small detail of their city and its people? And how were they deported? What happened next? Where are they now?
Many questions that led me to start looking and searching for every Mosuli Jewish person around the world and to reconnect with them in order to preserve and document their stories. After conducting weekly interviews with many of them in Israel and other countries, I concluded that the massacre wasn’t only physical, but also a continuous attack on their memory. The only way to stop this attack on the truth and history is by establishing a Jewish Musem of Mosul and reviving their memory to reconnect them with their city. I realized that every Jew from Mosul has a personal story that should be documented in its smallest details. To this task I will dedicate my life.
$18 Admission
Omar Mohammed
Omar Mohammed is a historian from Mosul, named by THE ALGEMEINER on the list of The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life in 2020 for his work on the recovery and preservation of Mosul’s Jewish histrory and cultural heritage. Known until recently only as the anonymous blogger ‘Mosul Eye’, through which Omar set out to inform the world about life under the Islamic State in his city. He is currently teaching Middle East History and Cultural Heritage Diplomacy at Sciences Po University. His focus has now shifted to the advocacy of social initiatives for the people of Mosul, including the international effort to re-supply the Central Library of the University of Mosul. At the intersection of media, academia, and civil society, Omar is motivated to develop new networks of collaboration and innovations in humanitarian action. As a historian and lecturer at the University of Mosul, he focuses his scholarly work on conceptual history and research dealing with local historiographies and narratives, micro-histories, and Orientalism. Omar is a regular media commentator on Iraq, has an MA in Middle East History from the University of Mosul, and was named 2013 Researcher of the Year by Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. His doctoral research explores history and historians in the 19th and 20th century Mosul. He now lives in exile in Europe.

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