ISTANBUL, Mar 25 (IPS):- In aiming to disarm Iraq and bring a regime change, The
Mother of All Battles II is also ravaging the cradle of Western
A bomb from a Tornado may fall on Adam and Eve's Garden of
Eden. Or the birthplace of Abraham. It was in the very place where thousands of
"sorties" now rain "smart bombs" that the world probably found its first form of
Cultivated crops, canals, dams, irrigation and
animal husbandry originated in what was known as the Fertile Crescent between
the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers - the rivers the coalition forces are
heading to cross on their way to Baghdad.
Greek thinkers drew inspiration
from the mathematicians, astronomers and philosophers of Mesopotamia, the land
that is now Iraq.
Night becomes day in Baghdad in the flashes of bombs,
day feels like night under the thick black smoke over Baghdad. But it was there
that day was divided into 24 hours, the hour into 60 minutes and a circle into
360 degrees. And it was here that algebra and geometry were
Armoured personnel carriers now roam the area. It was in
Mesopotamia that the idea of a vehicle on four wheels originated.
bombs are the product of current precision technology, but the first measuring
and surveying instruments date back to Mesopotamia.
But so does the
principle of "an eye for an eye". The death penalty was decreed for contractors
whose buildings collapsed and killed anyone in the thriving city-state of
Babylon around 700 BC. No one in Iraq will be punished now when buildings
collapse like a deck of cards under American bombs.
If surgeons are
forgiven now for failure to take proper care in a war, in Babylon they were held
responsible for what could be considered the origin of
Mesopotamia gave us the first metal working, architecture,
city building, urban planning, legal system, medical writings, cobblestone
streets, pottery and even beer, about 6,000 years ago.
"It is an ironic
twist of fate to stand on the remains of a city where the civilised world began
and realise it could all end right there as well," says U.S. historian Bradley
Parker. "Iraq is the cradle of Western civilisation. It is how we came to be
what we are."
It is from here that civilisation spread to Greece, to Rome
and then on to the rest of Europe and the Orient.
All of Iraq is
considered an archeological site. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon remain among
the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Mother of All Battles I and
II are far from the first to shake the cradle, though none matched this one
perhaps in spreading "shock and awe" this fast.
"Violent 'regime change',
invasions, wars, revolts and massacres have been a way of life for 6,000 years
in Mesopotamia," says Kit Miniclier, a U.S. observer of the Middle
Ever since Ur became the Western world's first city 5,500 years
ago, the area has seen war and peace under the Sumerians, the Babylonian King
Hammurabi, Hittites, Assyrians, King Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus the Great, Alexander
the Great, the Greek Seleucid dynasty, the Mongols, Turks, Persians, the Ottoman
Empire, Britain and down to Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath ("Renaissance" or
The Mongols are said to have slaughtered 800,000 people
in this region in 1258 AD, but only Alexander the Great accomplished a feat that
others, including the current "coalition of the willing" would have wished:
breezing in unchallenged.
Over the centuries Baghdad became a special
place in what is now Iraq. Founded in the year 762 AD, it had its share of
turbulence, but it became also the spiritual, political, intellectual and
cultural hub of the Islamic world. It was once the world's largest city west of
China. It was the "Paris of the Orient" long before Beirut, and for far longer
When Europe was in the Dark Ages in the ninth century, the
Caliph of Baghdad built a "House of Wisdom" which became a magnet for students
and scholars for free exchange of ideas. Literature from afar was brought by
camel caravans to be studied, translated and preserved.
It was in Baghdad
that the Abbasid caliph Harun ar-Rashid, who ruled between 786 and 809, listened
to Sheherezade's fairy tales for "A Thousand and One Nights". Baghdad now counts
its nights of bombings. - ROMA-IPS