Mosul Plays its Music of Life and For Life

How did it all happened?

How the dream came true and Ameen played “I am Free” at one of the most ancient sites of the Assyrian civilization n Nineveh?
I wrote a few months ago about music here on my page Mosul Eye, I also wrote that I listen to Itzhak Perlman and about my wish of his first visit tour to Mosul to play his music at its first concert. One of the followers said: We have Ameen in Mosul! And I was hooked! .. I asked him to introduce us to each other. I remember writing to Ameen at the time asking him: Are you for real? And everything started from there. I came to know Ameen closer, and we talked alot. I asked him: would you promise to play music in Mosul one day? And he replied: this is been my dearm! I didn’t want to put him under pressure because he decided to leave Mosul after liberating the eastern bank of the city to Baghdad. I know he needed to recover after two brutal years of living under ISIL’s control that destroyed his instruments.

So I was listening passionately to Perlman last night and it was a little over night when I said to myself: let’s write to Ameen! And I wrote: 

Me: would you travel tomorrow to Mosul to play your music there? 

Ameen: I am in Baghdad for now and there are obstacles to overcome first! 

Me: all you have to do is to catch the plane to Erbil! .. 

Ameen: I got to check with a travel agency and ask if that’s possible! 

Me: tomorrow will not be a good time to go and ask, and Baghdad is pretty much in a lockdown because all roads are closed because of a religious feast! .. is there an online flight booking?

Ameen: yes.

I left him for few moments and came back to him

Me: give me your entire name and your phone number

I left him again for a couple of minutes and got back to him

Me: Ameen, I booked you a trip from Baghdad to Erbil and your flight is in the morning!

Ameen: you must be crazy! 

I asked him to get ready, to have some rest. I also asked him to have an apple and to have his coffee before his departure. He laughed and said: Alright mom! 
Ameen arrived to Erbil in the morning and stayed there with a friend of mine. To obtain the security approvals from Nineveh security command to enter the city takes a long time and in itself is a hassle to go through. I am not in Iraq, how am I supposed to do all that? This didn’t turn me down. I called my friend in Erbil to escort Ameen to Mosul, for Ameen needs to be very stable for the performance. Then I called my other friend to help me with the Security​ approval from Lieutenant General Najim Al-Jubouri. Then I received a message later at night from my friend Thamir Khalil, the Clarnet player, who arrived recently to Erbil. He is a Mosuli musician as well, left Mosul long time ago, and said that his dream is to go back to Mosul and witness the performance he dreamed of this whole time. I asked him to join the convey to Mosul. Then it was morning again, and they contacted me that they are in their way to Mosul, but they still need a security approval to get there. I reached out to another friend who managed their entrance approval. There was a crowd waiting for them in the city.

The choice of the location was a message related to different ideas: it is the palace of Esarhaddon the Great, Nineveh’s heritage, then it is Jonah’s shrine that Jews, Christians, and Muslims shared its sacracy.
The message was saying that Mosul does not earn its name unless all its inhabitants share it and live in cohesion with one another. Then, to play at a location that was demolished by ISIL is to revive it with Life again. Then it is music .. to tell the world that Mosul is free although half of it is still under fire, it’s looking for books and music to be born again.
They made it to Mosul, and the dream came true, this is as simple as it is. All of it was a dream, and now, it become reality.

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5 thoughts on “Mosul Plays its Music of Life and For Life

  1. Pingback: Mosul violinist Ameen Mukdad returns to play amid ruins | Public News Update

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  5. Dear Mosul Eye,
    thanks for sharing this magic moment!
    Thamir and Ameen have renewed cultural life in Mosul with this event – there is a spark of light that you can take into Mosul to start working and rebuilding. Because this is not the end of a story, it is just the beginning. How will Mosul develop now? It’s in the hands of the Mosuli people.
    I hope this people will arrive at the point to have monthly concerts in these then renovated historical places of Mosul on a warm summer night in front of hundreds of people who enjoy the music and peaceful socializing. This the picture I wish you to publish in this blog in some not too distant future…all the best wishes to Mosul, its inhabitants, its musicians and artists!

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