In June, 2014, Iraq’s great city of Mosul fell as an army of black calling themselves the Islamic State of Iraq, defeated the Iraqi army and committed some of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind.
And if it hadn’t been for one man who documented the brutality of the group of men who claimed to be the descendants of the last Prophet of Islam, the world would never know Mosul’s real history.
The Birth of Mosul Eye
Mosul Eye was born and raised in a time of national crisis. He had seen many wars during his lifetime including one against Iran in 1986 and another one when Saddam Hussein was overthrown and the country was taken over by America. But he had seen nothing like the rise of Islamic State in 2014 which left many of his people dead and his entire city burning.
The army of black announced its arrival by putting up large banners, burning every library in the city and forcing the frightened citizens to accept their new law or lose their heads. At the time, Mosul Eye had just received his master’s and became a teacher. As a historian who strongly believed in secularism, Islamic State’s control over the city meant that Mosul Eye’s career was over.
He was looking for a way to express his views on the current political situation in his country and also to tell the world his story. At first, he thought of writing updates on Facebook but his friends warned him that he could risk his safety if the IS fighters discovered him. On June 18, 2014, Mosul Eye was first created by an anonymous blogger who decided to use the internet as his weapon and tell people how his city was suffering.
Barbarism at the Hands of Islamic State
News agencies around the world were scrambling for news about the IS and with the entire city engulfed in darkness, they had no other source to turn to but Mosul Eye. The blog, which was maintained in both Arabic and English, was gaining a huge reader base.
On his blog, Mosul Eye clarified that he was not a spy and his mission was to report the grave injustice happening in his city every day from an unbiased perspective. Mosul was suffering from the worst human rights crisis in the history as the Islamic State members brutally slaughtered and beheaded anyone who got in their way. In the two years that he spent he Mosul after its fall, the undercover historian witnessed the most heart-wrenching scenes of small children being decapitated and women being stoned to death.
The new fundamentalist group had one mission and it was to rid the city of any non-believers including the Shiites. Mosul Eye documented everything he heard and saw. Apart from the posts he published on his blog, he also made personal notes of sensitive information that he could not put out on the internet without the risk of revealing his identity.
The Grand Escape
After two years of acting as an undercover blogger, Mosul Eye had had enough. He had reached a breaking point and he could no longer live in fear of being caught and killed for his actions. So, one night, he decided to escape. There was no way to get past the strict security checkpoints without the IS guards finding out who he really was.
His backpack was filled with evidence of the crimes committed in his city including a hard drive where he recorded everything that he had witnessed in the past few years. He paid a smuggler $1000 to get him out of the city without getting caught, and after saying goodbye to his mother, Mosul eye escaped in the dark of the night and crossed the border into Turkey. In 2017, he was granted asylum in Europe through an organization after he explained to them who he was.
Mosul Eye Reveals His Identity
The situation in Mosul was worse than ever by the end of 2016. The IS were under attack but the missile strikes were taking the lives of innocent civilians in the city as well. A few months later, his brother died as a result of the missile strikes leaving behind four father-less children.
It was then, when Mosul Eye finally revealed his identity to his family – who were all proud of his efforts to save their beloved city. As IS lost its control over the city, Mosul had already been destroyed beyond recognition.
On November 15, 2017, the man behind Mosul Eye decided to reveal his real identity since there was no more Islamic State to fear. He publicly declared that his name was Omar Mohammed and he is a 31-year-old scholar.