Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Iraq and the Hanging Gardens of Halliburton

You know how I feel about religion. But when I looked at these two photographs I couldn't help but feel sad. Not just because the Imam al-Askari shrine is a sacred place for so many people. Or because the bombing could unleash another brutal round of sectarian killings.

But because it was such a beautiful building, and part of Iraq's history. And now it's just another bit of its past being slowly blasted to rubble.

One of Iraq’s most sacred Shiite shrines, the Imam al-Askari mosque in Samarra, was attacked and severely damaged again today, just over a year after a previous attack on the site unleashed a tide of sectarian bloodletting across the country.

The Americans promised to protect it but they couldn't. They promised to rebuild it after the last attack but they didn't. They just didn't care enough...right from the beginning.

Not only did they stand by in the first days of the invasion and allow the priceless treasures of the National Museum to be looted.

Now they're turning the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Into the Hanging Gardens of Halliburton.

the 2,500-year-old brick pavement to the Ishtar Gate was smashed by tanks and the gate itself damaged. The archaeology-rich subsoil was bulldozed to fill sandbags, and large areas covered in compacted gravel for helipads and car parks. Babylon is being rendered archaeologically barren

While armies of looters work unmolested...

Outside the capital some 10,000 sites of incomparable importance to the history of western civilisation, barely 20% yet excavated, are being looted as systematically as was the museum in 2003

And ancient cities are wiped off the map..

The remains of the 2000BC cities of Isin and Shurnpak appear to have vanished: pictures show them replaced by a desert of badger holes created by an army of some 300 looters

What an unforgivable crime. As Jenkins points out even Hitler protected the Louvre. But then the Bush Cheney criminals didn't care about Iraq's past. All they wanted was its oil.

Unfortunately for them they forgot that when you turn your back on the past it has a nasty habit of turning around and biting you.

They forgot that Iraq was an artificial country created by the British. A ticking time bomb waiting to explode.

And they forgot that all over the Arab world Iraq is known as the country of sahel.

Perhaps no fact is more revealing about Iraq's history than this: The Iraqis have a word that means to utterly defeat and humiliate someone by dragging his corpse through the streets. The word is sahel....

Listen to Iraqis engaged in the fight, and you realize they are far from exhausted by the war. Many say this is only the beginning....

Of all the countries in the world they had to invade that one...

And at the end of four years of war what are they left with? A ruined country with a present of horror and destruction....a future of civil war...and a glorious past that is slowly being destroyed.

Welcome to sahel. Welcome to hell. They can try all they can to excuse what they have done.

But history will never forgive them...


Anonymous said...

A most poignant posting Simon.

Well done!

Anonymous said...

pretty interesting stuff, simon! i guess it boils down to the xtians wanting to reclaim the holy land where eden was supposed to be and removing as much island history as possible....after all, can't have another religion ruling the tigress and euphretes so, let's just attempt to rewrite history!

JJ said...

Very well said. Best title ever, too: the hanging gardens of babylon become the *hanging* gardens of halliburton (I immeditately thought of all the dead bodies they find hanging from lamp posts in baghdad).

That golden mosque was something else -- absolutely gorgeous and a real piece of iraqi history. I felt exactly the same way as you do, just *hurt* that something so beautiful could be destroyed.