Balsam Awni, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Birmingham, writes about signs of resistance to the rule of the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq’s second city:
After the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State last June, an anonymous citizen — describing himself as an “independent historian” — set up the Facebook page “Mosul Eye” to tell the rest of the world what is happening inside the city.
This week Mosul Eye posted two stories claiming to show the turn against the Islamic State’s control.
In the first tale, a woman and a daughter were stopped by an Islamic State fighter because they were not wearing niqab, the full veil across the head and face. The fighter shouted at the daughter for the “illegal” clothing. However, far from accepting the chastisement, the mother cursed the jihadist and slapped him in the face.
The fighter tried to attack the mother; however, other people came to her defense. The mother continued her challenge, telling the jihadist that her daughter was “more honorable than him and his whole tribe”. At that point, she was “pulled…away for her safety”, with witnesses “telling her that she is braver than the rest of all the people here”.
The second episode was at a recent Islamic State military parade. The jihadists chanted their usual slogan, “Islamic state is Baqiya [Will Keep Existing]”. However, according to Mosul, those watching remained silent. One man even whispered, “Zaila”, the opposite of “Baqiya”, implying that the Islamic State will soon be extinct. What used to be a show for power by IS has turned out to be a scene of ridicule by Mosul residents.
These are only two brief moments from life in a city of more than a million people. But could they be signs of a budding resistance?