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by Ameen Muqdad from Mossul

Ameen Muqdad W
Salam Yousry © Goethe-Institut

Ameen Muqdad was born in 1998 in the city of Baghdad, where he now lives. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Engineering. He has a great passion for music and plays several instruments, including the violin, cello, and others. In 2003, Muqdad relocated to Mosul, where he lived and studied music.

The Light Music-Workshop Project

The project consists of training workshops that last for the duration of two months. Both men and women are invited to participate in the workshops and the concert, which will be held in an open, public place. It will be hosted October 2019. There will be twenty-six participants, thirteen men and thirteen women. The equal number of male and female participants is a message in favour of gender equality and shared life in a city that suffered severe gender segregation under ISIS. The project attempts to challenge any remaining vestiges of polluted thinking left by the militant group.

The concept behind the project

The project represents Muqdad’s dream to achieve diversity and a free, open culture in a city that suffers from ISIS’s legacy of violence. Muqdad says women were enslaved to such an extent that they have internalised and accepted it. He believes that music can shake the foundation of this gender apartheid. Having equal participation between men and women in this project will serve as a sort of positive shock. Music is revenge against hatred, war and destruction. Only through peace and music can the city of Mosul avenge itself of past horrors.
Two years of living under the fist of ISIS has made Muqdad more adamant in his belief that music holds the power to save and heal. He says that if it were not for music, he would have almost certainly suffered from mental breakdown, a natural consequence of the daily terror of gruesome death on the streets. This is why Muqdad strongly believes that music is the only cure. He is hosting the concert in an open-air venue, not a closed one, at a place that his participants will choose.
Now living in Baghdad, Muqdad says he must prepare himself psychologically to return to Mosul to run his workshops and prepare for the concert. To him, Mosul is like a sick patient in need of healing, which he believes can only be achieved through the reconciliation of the city’s inhabitants with peace through music. More than 172 people applied to take part in this workshop, but Muqdad could only take 26 people.
This large number of participants, however, is a clear sign that the people of Mosul, especially the youth, are demonstrating a thirst and openness towards music and the arts in general.
Muqdad says that he will train and provide them with musical instruments. He is now eagerly interviewing participants and choosing them not only on the basis of their talent, but also their way of thinking, their openness to the project, and their desire for freedom.