Saturday, August 23, 2014


We often forget how much history, historical trends that are manifested in culture of peoples, in the nature of the relationship between land, culture and tradition, and historical attachments and enmities, continue to dominate the political, economic and military relations and conflicts that we see. This is true in the current conflicts in Ukraine, Russia and Eastern Europe, in the Middle East and in China and East Asia, to name just a few areas. Below is a very interesting exploration of these themes in an article titled, "From the Ashes of Iraq: Mesopotamia Rises Again."

"The dissolution of the colonial creation named "Iraq"   is now almost complete. Perhaps what comes next is a return to the past; not a brutal Islamic "caliphate," but something more basic.
Today, Mesopotamia is reappearing. The term is a Greek word meaning "the land between the two rivers."

The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers   are the defining features, each arising in mountains far to the north of Baghdad. The rivers and their annual floods defined the landscape, the cycle of life and the worldview of civilizations. The deserts to the west and the mountains to the east and far north provided rough boundaries and were liminal spaces related to the center, but yet separate and apart, sunbaked and dangerous. Inside Mesopotamia was a cauldron.

From the Sumerians of the third millennium BCE through the Assyrian and Babylonian civilizations of the second and first millennia BCE, to the Abbasids of the eighth century CE and until the arrival of the British in the early twentieth century, the space called Mesopotamia   was the container for civilizations that rose and collapsed. Cultures invented writing and built the first cities, growing and shrinking in response to changing river courses and global climate. They conquered and were conquered, traded with surrounding regions, and formed a baggy but recognizable whole—what we call Mesopotamian civilization."

For the rest of this article see: