Mosul Locals take Reconstruction into their Own Hands

An old man standing in a doorway calls to us and asks us to come and take pictures. He opens the door of what was once his shop with trembling hands. “All my stock is completely burned,” says the man who asks us to call him Bazzaz. “I have been working here for 50 years and all of my life’s work is gone now. Forever.” He starts to cry.

From the burnt-out store we can see many people passing by, on their way to what was formerly the residential area in this part of the city. One person is digging up somebody who was buried in the house during the fighting. It is time to take them to the cemetery.

A couple who walk past, tell us they have just returned from the Al Mayadeen neighbourhood where their house once stood. It was completely destroyed and they are dragging three bags with them, full of the things they have salvaged: clothes, utensils, shoes.

Despite the fact that Mosul locals want to return to their homes in the areas of the city that saw a lot of fighting, to try and begin reconstruction, it remains very dangerous. The fleeing extremists left booby traps and unexploded ordinances.

Not a week passes without some random explosions, a police officer stationed in the neighbourhood tells us. “Two days ago two young men were killed as they entered their house,” he notes.

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