First Roundtable / Reconstruction of Trust in the Iraqi Society

Myths are not false stories that will never happen, but unique events that happen only once. The myth of Mosul is like that of Phoenix which is reborn out of ashes. It may stumble or fall but never defeated.

This city has witnessed the darkest forms of terror and devastation: its people have been killed, jailed, displaced, muted, and discriminated, but finally, after the dust and smoke of war settled down, they rose victorious, stepping upon the head of oblivion.

Mosul is an unheard story that needs a stage to perform its glory and determination. The Iraqi National Dialogue Initiative is the local and international stage that represents a perfect opportunity for displaying this city’s suppression and ambition.

Mr. Alaa Al-Bahadli, the executive director of the Iraqi National Dialogue Initiative has succeeded at holding the first roundtable of Mosul on the 26th of September, 2021 in the left bank of the city, in Baituna NGO, only meters away from the platform from which Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, had claimed the start of his caliphate in 2014. The roundtable was not like any other attempt that invites politicians to add more salt to the wound. It was the voice to the wound itself to speak to the world. It welcomed a colorful variety of participants from different ideologies, religions, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds: Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Ezadis, Christians, Sunnis, Shias, and even tribe sheiks. They were mostly young social activists who have felt the pain of the loss and chaos that the city has experienced. These words required a proper audience who interact with the suffering of the attendants and those of the city and to be their means to international communities. This mission was taken by European experts from different countries, including Germany, Austria, France, Netherland, and Spain.

Political depression was the dominant theme in the roundtable. There was a consensus that the political solutions to the destroyed city are hopeless and result in nothing but further frustration. Politicians have failed the people of Mosul many times and there is no cure for the chaos they are bringing to the city but a complete replacement of the city. More radically, some of the attendants have suggested that even mere participation in the election is a means of legitimizing their presence in the state: people should boycott the election to prove to the world that the current ruling parties are of no use to the country. On the other hand, a few participants disagreed. They suggested that the coming election is our last opportunity: otherwise, we should wait four more years and witness our city fall into further rubble.

They also thought that one of the main forces that participated in destroying the city and its ancient history was the absence of such sophisticated dialogues. Because we did not have such opportunities like this roundtable before, we thought of the other as our enemy, since our enemies are those whose stories we haven’t heard yet. Once we listen to their ideas, feel their human side, see our similarities, we will understand each other better and can solve our disagreements in a civilized way, without the need to resort to terrorist movements like that of ISIS.

Before the farewell, they thanked Mr. Al-Bahadli for this opportunity and asked him for more roundtables in the future.

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