Iraq is the cradle of civilization, and its name is derived from Uruk, one of the most important cities in ancient Mesopotamia and the origin of the concept of the city. Its legendary King Gilgamesh was the hero of an epic story of his quest for immortality, which had profound parallels with the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark. Noah himself was located in Mesopotamia, as well as Abraham, the biblical patriarch was recorded to have lived near the site of the original Garden of Eden in a city that was named Eridu after the Sumerian god Eridu, who was worshipped along with Inanna and Enki and others. Iraq’s culture and history is full of important breakthroughs, such as cuneiform tablets and the first batteries, and these pieces of history can never be replaced. Unfortunately, Iraq’s rich past, as well as its artifacts are in jeopardy of being destroyed by ISIS, and the country has an uncertain future.
Ancient Mesopotamia’s need for appeasing their gods for favors and blessings led to the building of the ziggurat, which was a temple run by priests that somewhat resembles the pyramids of Central and South America. The priests in these temple wielded great power, as people deferred to them to make decisions from things as mundane as leasing out property and as important as war. Eventually military and political leaders arose and took many decision-making powers from the priests. Hammurabi, a Babylonian king that reigned over Sumer and Mesopotamia from 1792 to 1750 B.C., developed a code that implemented law and order in civil and domestic issues, as well as regulating fair labor conditions and establishing order within the country. Iraq’s rich and proud past is well documented, however it is in jeopardy of an uncertain future.
Unlike Iraq’s current desert climate, ancient Mesopotamia was fertile, with plenty of vegetation and abundant water. However the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were unpredictable. This led to the first city,which arose due to the need to systematically manage and stabilize the area of Sumer, which is the ancient name given to Southern Mesopotamia. Such inventions as the wheeled chariot, the base 60 method of counting and marking time as well as advanced metallurgy were created by this civilization.
Iraq’s foundation in Islam began from influences in the Arabian Peninsula, where Muhammad began teaching revelatory concepts that were given to him by God. He and his followers settled in a town that would later be named Medina, in 622 A.D. This year marked the beginning of the Muslim calendar, and the growth of Islam.
Modern day Iraq is now mostly desert, and is still rebuilding from the ashes of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the deposing of Saddam Hussein. Islam is practiced there by 95 percent of its population and is the religion of the state. Baghdad is still in the process of being rebuilt, as well as the Iraqi government. With the rise of the terror group ISIS, Iraq’s history and future are in jeopardy.
ISIS is systematically and methodically destroying Iraq’s historical sites and artifacts. Christians in the area are being beheaded and crucified for not converting to Islam, and forced to flee Iraq or pay with their lives. Iraqi people are survivors, with a rich history that stems from the dawn of civilization and there is a great need for more support and training of its military, which have also been decimated by ISIS. Iraq has a rich past of revolutionizing the world, and should be treasured and protected, but its survival and future are uncertain.
By Adrianne Hill