“You shouldn’t be proud of your origins” she added: “you are a citizen of another country now, and this is the only nationality you should be proud of!” My friend was almost paralyzed, but replied “How can I ignore 8000 years of history?” She replied back and said “You didn’t make that history. You are not part of it! Therefore you shouldn’t be proud of it”
This was a conversation between a friend at work and her new colleague who settle recently in the Netherlands. The remarks were made by the new colleague after she discovered the Iraqi origins of my friend.
One can wonder if this a sort of stupidity to throw such remarks, or is it a matter of whether someone should either have loyalty to that country or to the other he or she originally came from! Or maybe the loyalty issue is not relevant in the first place in relation to such a debate?
Can my friend ignore the fact that her country is the cradle of all civilizations?
Iraq is the country where wheels and writing were invented. It is where stars were measured for the first time by scientists and it is in Iraq that the first irrigation systems were built on the banks of the river. In Iraq the first constitution in the history of mankind has been written. In addition, according to historians, Iraq is where the first epic movie ever made during the Assyrian Emprie era in its own form: by telling stories through drawing figures on huge vertical cuneiforms telling about events involved heroes, enemies, prisoners of wars, battles, lion hunting and conquerors. All were tales of a mighty empire that stretched from Egypt to Persia in very enjoyable details.
The achievements of Ashurbanipal alone are just one living example of the kind of great leader he used to be. For example, historians and scholars until this day are studying the contents of the Ashurbanipal’s grand library which he built in Nineveh and contained 20 to 30 thousand cuneiforms, put in separate chambers according to subject categories, and varied from languages of different cultures to government matters, politics and military, to science and society.
It was Ashurbanipal’s grand library that introduced us to the first tale ever told in the history of mankind: The "Epic of Gilgamesh".
Scholars and historians gave Baghdad different names: some called it the house of peace, others called it the golden city, and other preferred to call it with the original translation of the word Baghdad, which is derived from ancient Persian language: the gift of god ("bagh" meaning God, and "dad" meaning gift). It is the city where works from other languages such as Greek, Persian and Indian have been translated and made Baghdad during the golden middle ages as the bridge where east meet west through many aspects of life, whether cultural, commerce, education or politics.
Baghdad was considered the largest city in the entire world from the date of its foundation in 762 to 930 A.D.
From Baghdad, Long before the time of female politicians star rising in othe Arab countries, such as Sheika Lubna al Qassimi of the UAE, and Masouma Mubarak of Kuwait, Nezihe al Dileemy was born in 1922, who became the first female in the modern history of the Arab world to be take a position of a minister. Dr al Dileemy achievements where not limited to politics, but also included social and humanitarian activities from the early days she was a student at the medical college, and remained for years to come. Such achievements included the struggle to promote world peace, the protection of children, and participating in research projects and campaigns in the fight against plagues and diseases, such as the research on Primitive syphilis disease, which took her from the north of the country to the southern marshes of Iraq, and from the desert of western Iraq and in around the different area in Baghdad. She was the first to call for establishing a union for Iraqi woman and in early 1950s was the first chairman of what became later the Iraqi Woman Association. With her efforts and determination she succeeded in making the Iraqi Women Association part of the World Democratic Women Union in 1952, where she became a couple of years later its vice-chairman. Final achievement of Dr al Dileemy before retirement was in 1999 when she organized a big seminar on the situation of Iraqi Women and the challenges she faces in society.
This is Iraq, this is the country that the new colleague demanded from my friend to distance herself from and never be part of its history and its people. I don’t know if my friend will be able to choose the part of history in Iraq she should put behind her. In other words, should my friend disown the history of ancient Mesopotamia? Or should it be Baghdad and the Golden Era of Iraq’s middle Ages? Or to ignore distinguished figures helped in shaping its modern history???