Man meets woman. They fall in love. Then discover they are on opposing sides of a war. Sound familiar? It seems like the story of Ms. Ekhlas Mohammed and Mr. Ali Amer has developed into the modern Iraqi version of Romeo and Juliet, except with a very great twist: they manage to get married successfully.
Ms. Mohammed met Mr. Amer through a mutual acquaintance, and it seems to have been a match made in heaven. Pretty soon after meeting, Mr. Amer had won her over and had successfully asked for her hand in marriage. Then ISIS took over their town. At first, their town, Dhuluiya, welcomed the Sunni rebels as they promised to champion the needs and issues of the sunni majority of Iraq. Quickly, though, things soured, as ISIS started killing anyone who had opposed Al Qaeda before, as well as anyone who had any ties to the army or police force. This angered many such as Mr. Amer’s Jubour tribe.
Mr. Amer were among many who decided to fight back against ISIS, and they were able to drive them out of the Jubour tribe land. Since then, it has been a constant struggle between the rebels and ISIS. While this all happened, Ms. Mohammed, however, was part of the ISIS controlled area. She received constant threats on her life. Eventually ISIS no longer only threatened her life, but also the lives of her family. That is when her mother decided to sneak her out of town and to her loved one.
Ms. Mohammed, led by her mother, took a long detour to circumvent the front lines, and boarded a boat to cross the river to the southern side of Dhuluiya. Ms. Mohammed said “when I saw Ali from a distance, I realized that my dream was coming true.” They are now married, having been aided by a few more friends to make their dream, a reality.
While this is a great love story, it is sad to think that this is what life has become for people in Iraq. The people of Iraq had been promised peace, democracy, and stability for how long now? Yet, the moment that it seems like some progress is being made towards that elusive yet basic right, there is a new obstacle to be overcome. It was insurgencies after the topple of the Hussein regime, then it was an oppressive regime, then again it was insurgencies, and finally now ISIS. When will the time of peace and stability come for Iraq? When will it be possible for someone to marry the one they wish to marry without having to mourn the death of many loved ones?