One Extreme Against Another: Mosul Eye Vs. ISIS

One Extreme Against Another: Mosul Eye Vs. ISIS

Mosul Eye: presenting an individual with a sound conscience and unrivaled bravery in the face of imminent death.
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The date was June 10, 2014. Occupation was imminent.

Such events transpired on the outskirts of northern Iraq, where lay the country's second biggest city -- Mosul -- a little under 250 miles from Baghdad.

Many in this section of the western hemisphere had been prepping up for summer's inevitable arrival. In comparison, those living in Mosul had their lives forever changed when the defeat of traditional Iraqi government forces prompted the takeover and occupation of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).



ISIS, with its strict religious values, disregard of basis human rights, and complete lack of morality, has desired to establish an "Islamic State" that follows strict Sharia law. To enforce this, ISIS had gradually increased the violence of its brutal killings, including the executions of several Americans and other westerners. This in turn has labeled it a prominent and extremely dangerous force in the middle east -- as the rest of the world continues to scramble for proper countermeasures.

As of today, Mosul is still the biggest city under ISIS control; and according to some reports, the levels of cruelty are unparalleled: Women are denied basic rights and are forced to abide by a harsh dress code; men are killed for opposing the regime or for not conforming to ISIS' ridiculous religious doctrines; and children are indoctrinated and radicalized under the ISIS school curriculum.

That's not all: According to secretly filmed videos, mosques have been blown up, institutions have been abandoned, and traditional totalitarian practices, including persecution of minorities, intimidation, torture, and city-wide surveillance are the norm. Even typical leisure activities such as picnics are banned under the pretense of "haram," which refers to an act forbidden by God.

Although Mosul's citizens aren't confined to their homes, they are confined to the city -- as ISIL does not allow residents to leave it under any circumstances -- effectively leaving the innocent at the mercy of their horrid oppressors until something is done.

However, recently, we've witnessed a beacon of hope rising amidst the chaos, through the brave journalistic actions of one anonymous individual.


















This person runs the blog Mosul Eye, which is dedicated to showcasing the atrocities of the ISIS regime first-hand. As one of the few reliable sources that is currently documenting the happenings occurring inside Mosul, their life is anything but easy. This individual assumes different identities to infiltrate ISIS and procure important information, and as a result, Mosul Eye has become a leading source for international journalists and scholars to obtain any ISIS-related coverage.

Having received death threats from all corners, the author must remain in constant hiding and in fear of their life. Thankfully, updates are semi-common, as the author continues to keep the rest of the world in the know with their blog and Facebook page.

But why? Wouldn't the threat of death prompt one to cease such risky activities? Especially in a city such as Mosul -- in which the most dangerous terrorist group on the planet can freely roam rampant.

Well, it's quite clear that ISIS will go to great lengths in order to silence the flow of information. This is an undeniable fact. However, Mosul Eye counters this with clear-cut journalism -- seemingly almost toying with the oppressors -- with the end goal of taking ISIS down from the inside.

These are two extremes: one using barbaric tactics to strike fear and hate in people, and the other -- to encourage the fight against evil. All this despite being in the midst of enemy territory where every action taken risks imminent death.

But that threat alone isn't stopping the author.

For the individual behind the computer screen, this is a fight that has not only his or her life on the line, but the entirety of Mosul's future as well. Yet this person continues to keep the public informed -- all for the sake of their fellow Iraqi citizens and possibly the rest of the world.

As another kind of altruism that rarely sees the light of day, we're slowly witnessing the emergence of something huge.

The next couple of years shall determine whether Mosul stands again as a proud Iraqi city or become another page for the history books.
















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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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2019 Just Means That The 2020 Election Is Coming

I don't want things to be that way, people running for President make it that way.

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The 2020 election has begun with Senator Elizabeth Warren announcing that she has formed an exploratory committee to run for president.

Other likely candidates include Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Beto O'Rourke, Michael Bloomberg, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. And those are only the people eating at the adult's table, there are other Democrats that will probably throw their hats in the ring just for some publicity.

The last time a primary began to decide the opponent for an unpopular incumbent Republican president that had lost the popular vote in his first campaign was just 15 years ago, in 2004 when John Kerry became the nominee to challenge President George W. Bush.

Kerry may have lost the election, but he did have an easy primary. Kerry beat out his early challengers and went on to easily win almost all of the primary caucuses and elections.

I do not think that 2020 will be so easy and that is due in part to 2016. The 2016 primary may have eclipsed 2008 in terms of being one of the most consequential primaries in US history.

2016 showed the ideological split within the Democratic Party, with many New Democrats, socially liberal economically conservative centrists, holding most of the power within, while there's a strong grassroots force urging the party leftwards. Critics will claim Hillary Clinton lost because she was not left-wing enough. And Bernie Sanders's surprising success shows that anybody who wants to be the nominee has to appeal to the Sanders demographic.

This article is not really here to endorse any candidate, you can read my other articles to figure out who I'm voting for, it is however here to point out just how difficult it will be to win the nomination.

A candidate has to, according to the so-called experts: be left-leaning but also be a centrist, and be able to get minorities out to vote but also appeal to some Trump voters that they think they can win over by calling out the President's divisive tactics.

Trickle-down economics and massive deregulation always throws the economy into a recession, but the question now is when will that happen? If it happens during the 2020 election it's safe to say it's over for Trump, but if a Democrat has to challenge a Republican while the economy is doing great, it will be all the more difficult. The election will turn into a debate over so-called "social" issues (assuming Trump does not take us to war).

Issues that seem to be on most Americans' minds are healthcare and immigration. The healthcare debate will turn into a debate amongst Democrats over whether or not single-payer is possible and will likely be one of the most divisive issues of the primary. Immigration will be easy, every Democrat will go the safe route and boldly proclaim that putting children in cages and letting them die is not good. This will lead to Trump accusing them of being Antifa thugs.

The road to the White House is not meant to be easy. You need to fight hard to win the hearts of Americans, unless you are a Republican then you just need to win over rich Americans and let the electoral college do the rest of the work.

But seriously, we need to start the process of finding someone that will undo the years of horror unleashed by the Trump administration and also put the country in a new direction. Someone that will help the old and the young, and all workers. It's time for a leader that works for the American laborer, not the American entrepreneur, and above all, it is time for a new president.

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