Mosul: We Were Here Before ISIS, We’ll Be Here After They’re Gone

The battle to liberate Mosul from ISIS is underway.

We were here in Iraq long before ISIS, driven by this foundational belief that preemptive love can unmake violence, even in the hardest conflicts on earth.

We were here when ISIS swept across Iraq, exploiting the legitimate grievances of marginalized people for their own gain. We watched in horror as city after city fell. The date June 10, 2014 is etched in our memories. That was the day Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, fell. 

We saw it—and wondered when and where and if it would stop.

I’d be lying if I told you we didn’t think about pulling up stakes and leaving Iraq during those terrifying days, when no one really knew what was going on and ISIS seemed unstoppable. But we stayed. We chose not to give up on Iraq. We still believe preemptive love can unmake violence. Even the violence of ISIS.

We were here before ISIS. And we’ll be here after. 

We’ll be here—because ISIS is not the future. Violence and hate will not have the final word.

We’ll be here—because nothing actually gets solved until after the smoke clears and the guns are put away. That’s when the hard work begins. A military victory against ISIS will be a hollow victory for the people of Iraq, unless their grievances are heard. Unless marginalized communities are protected. Unless families of all backgrounds are allowed to return home and rebuild in safety. And unless parents are empowered to provide good lives for their children.

We’ll be here—because if we don’t invest ourselves in the long-term work of rebuilding broken cities and mending broken communities, we’ll be in the same position a few years from now. The ISIS brand will be gone; militants will wear a different moniker. But the story will be the same.

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Right now, we’re heading in on the heels of the military forces who are fighting for Mosul. As towns, villages, and neighborhoods are liberated from ISIS, we are here, making sure families have what they need—food, water, medical care—the second they make it through the fighting.

We’re not counting on most of these families making it to refugee camps miles away, north of Mosul, inside the relatively safety of Iraqi Kurdistan—where most aid groups are waiting to receive them. Many will never make it that far.

We are meeting families where they are, right on the front lines.

Because it’s not enough to be “in Iraq” or “in Kurdistan.” It’s not enough to say “Mosul.” Your support has to reach those who need it most.

So while the media and other outfits are still getting ramped up, we’re already here. Long before Mosul briefly interrupted wall-to-wall news coverage of the never-ending U.S. presidential campaign, we were here—serving up and down the Mosul corridor. In fact, we haven’t stopped serving on the front lines since the battle for Fallujah.

We’ve delivered over a million pounds of food and 4 million liters of water—along with hygiene kits, soap, and medical supplies—to more than 120,000 people on the run from ISIS. 

And we’re not stopping, either. We will continue to serve as the battle moves from the Mosul suburbs into the city proper, as thousands more flee. We’ll continue to serve after the battle is done, too—when the real work begins: the hard, slow work of waging peace and rebuilding lives.

First in, last out. Preemptive Love.

Thank you for being with us on the front lines.

Stand with the families of Mosul. Every $65 you give is enough to provide a month’s supply of food for a family on the run from ISIS.

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