Building of Brutality Stages an Encore of Resilience
Image by Mosul University professor and photographer Ali Y. Al-Baroodi
A concert in front of what is left of an Insurance Building. A building that had been used by ISIS as a daunting tool for punishment and control. ISIS would allegedly throw their captives from the top of this centrally located and highly visible building as punishment for crimes that varied from homosexuality to disloyalty.
The concert was to show that art can triumph over the rubble and ashes left behind by ISIS. In a heartfelt interview with Ali Y. Al-Baroodi, he explains that, "people want to embrace arts in different forms to commemorate when these beautiful things were forbidden. It was like a forbidden apple. When it is forbidden you want it. And during the years of ISIS occupation, if you played music you might be executed by ISIS" (read more) (related).
The concert was an interesting sociopolitical gesture and I do not agree or disagree with production of this event, 'it is what it is'. What is difficult to agree with, is that plans to demolish the building. It is just too important. It is symbolic for many, of the memories of violence and social dislocation the community and the country has endured. Al-Broodi himself explains that, "it was designed by Rifat Chaderchi, and it witnessed one of the Iraq’s most brutal crimes in recent and contemporary history. I think it should be kept and fixed and become a museum to document crimes of ISIS against Nineveh. They have already started demolishing it. So in a few weeks it will no longer be there".
It might be too late for this building but there are many more socially and culturally significant buildings in Iraq, that require special considered attention rather than an approach of enforced amnesia through destruction cloaked in the technocratic guise of reconstruction led reconciliation.