Gift of God…. ?
By Maxwell Pereira
Jt. Commissioner of Police/Traffic, Delhi
For those of us who grew up with
stories from the Bible… be it of Adam and Eve in the story
of creation and the Garden of Eden of the forbidden fruit fame,
or the heart warming ones from that part of the Old Testament
that dealt with Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath or King
Solomon - the topography and terrain covered in this Book of the
Greatest Story ever told, is starkly familiar. A majority of place
names from the Bible that I grew up with, have suddenly been catapulted
into our lives, resurrected once again - should I say 'thanks'
to the Iraq War… where the "clash of civilizations"
has taken place in what is considered the very "cradle of
civilisation". Ironically for me, it was around the same
time as the commencement of this 'clash' that a trip to South
Africa's Johannesburg for the recent Cricket World Cup finals
had provided an opportunity to tour through another 'cradle' -
what they termed the "Cradle of Mankind" where man in
his homo sapiens form is said to have taken first birth.
But just as 'Brahmavarta' the
land between the Saraswati and the Drishadwati rivers of ancient
India is credited with the origin of the Vedas and the Upanishads….
it is the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers that
is credited with having given the world and mankind a majority
of its first inventions - cereal agriculture with irrigation of
the Mesopotamians, the plough and the wheel and the wheeled chariot
of the Sumerians, knowledge and development of the art of writing
and literature, the cities and codes of law for community living,
counting systems, accountancy and banking, the science of mathematics
based on the number 60, the study of astronomy with the creation
of the calendar, and the defining of the latitude and longitudes,
discovery of bronze - were all inventions from these very once
fertile plains that now stand ravaged by the Allied 'coalition-of-like-minded'
forces led by America and Britain in their so-called 'laudable'
task of liberating a people who had not sought any liberation!
Among the seven wonders of the
world of my childhood were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon - a
name from the Bible, though for the Iraqis it may be just a place
of tourist attraction. Babylon had once become the capital of
the largest empire humans had built, and was famed as the commercial
and cultural centre of the Middle East for 2000 years. And be
it the Tower of Babel and Hammurabi, the Epic of Gilgamesh; the
City of Ur; Niniveh and Mesopotamia, the Iraqi land is redolent
with names that echo down the Biblical millennia. While historians
tell us that history itself began 8000 years ago in Iraq, everything
before that was just pre-historic; and that the Iraqi civilisation
is twice as old as that of ancient Egypt and four times as that
of Rome. Mesopotamian civilisation in this area is placed at 6000
BC while that of the Sumerians at 3700 BC. Picture symbols to
keep track of property and the simpler cuneiform of writing with
lines pressed into clay already in practise here had evolved by
3000 BC into full syllabic alphabet.
In Persian meaning "given
by God" Baghdad's foundation stones were laid by The Abbasid
Caliph Mansur in 762 AD calling it Madinat-al-Salam or the city
of peace. A city for the next five centuries that absorbed and
distilled the wisdom of the east and the west to became the centre
of the world's greatest and the oldest civilisation. But with
the decline and pillage that started with the Mongol invasion
in 1256 AD through to the British Mandate of the 1900s Baghdad
and the Iraqis remained an unfortunate lot - which is reason why
it became fertile ground, history records, for an authoritative
regime to evolve, making room for the cult of personality combined
with a doctrine of infallibility in the form of Saddam Hussein
to emerge. The rest is again history…
No one is flying a flag for the
now deposed leader or would support the atrocities he ostensibly
committed on his people - as would inevitably be listed….
But the question that bugs one and all… "Where are
those Weapons of Mass Destruction?" which were supposed to
be the root cause and reason for external armed intervention.
And would the fact of not agreeing to sign the Hague Convention
for protection of cultural and religious cities during hostilities
buy immunity to those nations or be absolution enough against
culpability to those who watched the heritage plundered? Who would
mankind hold answerable for the looting of the museums and the
loss of 4000 year old cultural heritage suffered by humanity?
author can be reached at http://planetindia.net/maxwell
or his email: firstname.lastname@example.org
)750words. 22.04.2003: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725
Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and email@example.com
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