Life After ISIS

This is 12 year old Mustafa.

His leg was blown off when he stepped on an ISIS mine.

You can see the exhaustion in his eyes from being cramped in a single room unable to leave his house and only eating flat bread and water for who knows how long.

I drove him and his family to safety from the front lines where they had been rescued by the Iraqi Army earlier in the morning. It was a bumpy ride in the ambulance up and down the makeshift dirt roads.

Many children like Mustafa have had their lives devastated by an ideology that hails both violence and hatred as virtues.

ISIS has taken everything from many children like Mustafa. But the love and hope these people demonstrate for one another gives them the inner strength needed to move forward in their newfound freedom.

Before Mustafa left he thanked me and told me his favorite color is green. And green is symbolic for the new life he has just embarked on.

JournalZebulun Mattos