by mike richards (



Okay, perhaps it should be the dead bodies and the mangled survivors that
got me this angry - in which case I apologise for being FURIOUS at what has
happened to the National Museum in Baghdad.

The American refusal to protect the museum is a clear violation of the
Geneva Conventions.

Now what do I do?

Would Tony Blair and George Bush, those oh-so-pious Christians be so
dismissive of the situation if someone explained to them that this museum
contained the remains of Ur - home of Abraham the founder of ancient
Israel, of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, Darius the Great, Alexander the Great
and the Caliphate?

That Iraq was not the home to one dazzling civilisation - but three
cultures that help forge the modern world?

Would they even care that Mesopotamia gave the World organised agriculture,
cities, government, ceramics, writing, numbering - even the hours of the
day and the days of the year?

Could they even conceive that it was the Mesopotamians who gave us the
richness of our mythology; the legend of Gilgamesh - passed down to us as
the Biblical Noah and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon?

Do they even know that it was in Iraq where Man first looked at the night
sky and began to see how the immeasurably distant universe relates to our
own tiny concerns?

Do either of them realise that our laws and those of the Old Testament were
codified in Hammurabi's Babylon; that each time they talk about right and
wrong, good and evil they base their judgement on the thoughts of an Iraqi

Or even that the flowers in our gardens were first cultivated between the
Tigris and the Euphrates?

Somehow I doubt it.

Baghdad had a university when America was a forgotten continent.

The people of Iraq discussed the concept of the atom and the prospect of
nuclear power whilst Europe engaged in witch hunts.

As our alchemists blindly attempted to turn lead into gold, the Iraqis were
familiar with the use of anaesthesia.

We argued over the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin; they
calculated the distance to the Moon and the Sun.

We had feudalism; they had paper money and banks with branches in Spain,
Baghdad and China.

We huddled in darkness whilst their cities were lit by the natural gas that
we're now so desperate to take for ourselves.

They preached religious tolerance where all of the Abrahamic religions
could live freely under one set of laws, we engaged in the genocide of our
own minorities and then turned on the Middle East to sate our blood thirst.

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