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A poignant look at those who fled Mosul and do not want to go back, from CNN:
Anne Danyale can never go back to Mosul. It has been two years since her family fled from the Iraqi city fearing for their lives, as ISIS ushered in a reign of terror. As part of the local Christian population, there were only two choices facing Anne, her husband Sabhan and their two children: run or die. “When we left it was all over for us,” she told CNN. “We lost our homes, our memories… everything. “We even lost our jobs, which we had worked hard for all our lives… I don’t think we’ll ever go back. It’s too hard.” …”I do not want my children to live through the same experience again,” she said. “We paid the price and I don’t want to go back in a few years and go through it again. “There is constant violence in Iraq. It’s never quiet. We had a much better life before the fall of the regime.” Before the US-led invasion of 2003, Iraq was home to an estimated Christian population of more than a million. Christians had already become a target for extremist groups like al Qaeda long before the emergence of ISIS, but Anne’s family remained in Mosul. Churches were bombed, Christians were kidnapped, killed and many followers living within the city were made homeless. But it was the arrival of ISIS that persuaded Anne that it was time to leave. After capturing territory in northern Iraq, ISIS drove out the local Christian population and began to eviscerate any remnants of the religion from the area. Photos showed militants vandalizing monasteries and churches, smashing statues and replacing the cross with their black flag of terror.
Read it all, which concludes with this thought:
For now, sitting at the shrine of the Virgin Mary, she lights a candle as she does every single day. She says that faith is all her family have to cling to. “They say ours is a religion of forgiveness, but I will never forgive them,” she said of ISIS. “What we witnessed and what we left behind… how they drove us out. “I will never forgive them…”
Photo: CNN/Jomana Karadsheh