Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Marsh Arabs.

This is coolbert:

Here a success story from the Second Gulf War and the American occupation of Iraq.

The salvation of the Marsh Arabs and the wetlands of the Tigris-Euphrates marshlands where the fresh water meets the Persian Gulf.

"The Marsh Arabs . . . are inhabitants of the Tigris-Euphrates marshlands in the south and east of Iraq and along the Iranian border."

Those Marsh Arabs a people of which little was known until relatively recently. Believed to be perhaps of the most ancient and venerable lineage, related to the Sumerians.

Persons the Marsh Arabs almost a people having an aquatic life-style, unique to the area.

That famous English explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger the first outsider [?] to give us an accurate description of the Marsh Arabs. Sir Wilfred of course also during the Second World War an officer with the British Long Range Desert Group.

"The way of life of the Marsh Arabs was later described by the explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger in his classic The Marsh Arabs (1964). Thesiger lived with the Marsh Arabs for months at a time over a seven-year period (1951–1958), building excellent relationships with virtually all he met, and recording the details of day-to-day life in various regions of the marshes."

These Marsh Arabs Shia and in opposition to the late dictator Saddam Hussein. Saddam in revenge for defeat during the First Gulf War [1991] with a malevolent spiteful hate draining the marshes, the ancient way of life of the Marsh Arabs obliterated for the most part. That destruction of a people in part or in whole considered to be a violation of the Genocide Convention.

"Many of the marshes' inhabitants were displaced when the wetlands were drained during and after the 1991 uprisings in Iraq."

Much more than mere displacement. Much more.

The marshes an immense area drained by a combination of dikes and canals, the engineering corps of Saddam's army most proficient, able to do what had not been possible in 5,000 previous years of civilization.

One of the most productive wetlands on the planet laid waste, reduced to a desert uninhabitable.

Allegedly the fish  of the marshes poisoned, herds of water buffalo massacred by Mi-24 helicopter gunships. Slaughter and destruction on an apocalyptic and epic scale. Almost biblical in nature.

 "the Mesopotamian marshlands in southern Iraq, which scholars believe is the cradle of one of the earliest civilizations. The lush habitat was also the cradle of diverse wildlife, from water buffalo to lions, otters, foxes, and a plethora of birds and fish. But in the mid 1990s, Saddam Hussein burned and drained much of the area to drive out Shiite Arabs that had staged uprisings and then fled into the reeds"

A half million persons living in the marsh area prior to the destruction by Saddam. NOW the population only about 20,000 and only slowly recovering

"The marshes turned to dust bowls, and the people who had lived there for thousands of years, descendants of the Sumerians, began to suffer."

In the aftermath of the Second Gulf War [2003], the dikes holding back the life-giving water breached, the area flooded as in times of antiquity, those marshes now restored to an extent from anywhere half [50 %] to three-quarters [75 %] as was originally. Restoration continues unabated. A great success story!

This all described in a documentary the promotional aspects courtesy of Robert Redford:

"Working with the local Marsh Arabs, Alwash and team helped reflood the area. The reeds returned, followed by much of the wildlife. About half of the original marshlands are now flourishing, and the area is slated to become Iraq’s first national park."

Those Marsh Arabs their ancestral "land" to some extent restored, the population will return to prior Saddam levels remains to be seen. This ancient people having their ancient way "restored" as well also a possible for future generations.


No comments: