April 9, 2014 – Baghdad
Have you wondered about the rise and fall of ancient Roman or Greek, or other empires? Are you inspired by the thought of the ancients? Have you wondered about how these empires came to power and ruled for years, then fell? Have you imagined how people lived in those empires? How did each of those citizens live his/her life?
While I was walking on those ancient streets of Italy, I was wondering about the ancient Roman citizens, how they lived and walked the same streets. Augustus, Cato, and Constantine walked those streets. History recorded and gave us those ancient names, but history ignored the names the stories of the ordinary people. Each Roman citizen had a story to tell. As well, each citizen of Baghdad has a story to tell.
On April 9, 2003, Baghdad fell for 23rd time (this includes foreign invasion and internal coups) in history. The city fell from a dictatorship and risen into new democratic country forging itself into a new nation though the struggles of internal conflicts. I am part of this history. I was part of the historical decisions that shaped the rebuild of Baghdad. As every year passes by, I wonder about the rise of Baghdad. The political, economic, and geo-ethnical challenges are facing the ancient city now.
This is my personal story about witnessing the fall and rise of Baghdad during my time. By this writing, I am pressing into History’s footnotes. I refuse to be buried in the “cemetery of dead history”.
As this year marked the 11th anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, we are witnessing history in making. Only a few people are born in this corner of the Universe. And for those who been part of American liberation of Baghdad, or ordinary citizen living in Baghdad, I say we are living an extraordinary history – a modern Epic of Baghdad.
Baghdad’s roots extend as far as the cradle of civilization to where we are today. History owes a huge historical debt to Baghdad. After many ancient Romans closed the schools of philosophy in Rome and Athens, many of those ancient works of Aristotle, Socrates, and others were preserved in Arabic translation in Baghdad, and then retransmitted to Europe by way of Andalusia. It is because of ancient Baghdad; we can read about Aristotle’s and Socrates’ philosophy.
We are the NEW ancient.
When the weight of old age settles down on me, my thread of life breaks, and as I lay to rest, I write my name in this chapter of life before history begins writing its next chapter. One hundred or one thousand years from now, people will wonder about us and talk about Baghdad’s fall as ancient history. I was embedded as a linguist for the U.S. Army for four years and worked two years with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. I witnessed the liberation of Baghdad from its historical tyrant known as Saddam Hussein. As many sat on the throne of Gaius Julius Caesar after his death, I sat on Saddam’s throne.
look for a guy with red sweater 2:54