A bell tolls for freedom outside Mosul. After two years of captive isolation in the genocidal hands of the Islamic State, the Nineveh Plain is being slowly liberated, and the sounds of a decimated faith community are ringing for the first time.
It was the summer of 2014 when the forces of the Islamic State surged out of Mosul to claim vast swaths of the Nineveh Plain, once a vibrant home to many of Iraq's ancient and historic religious minority communities, some of whom can trace their lineage for a millennia. Thousands of Iraqis were forced to flee through the middle of the night in a literal modern-day Exodus. One order of nuns described their horrific escape. As their van inched its way down the road, those walking alongside pressed against the vehicle and pounded on its panels, begging that their youngest children be included in order to ensure they lived.