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10/03/2013

Why Baghdad a capital for Arab culture?

Baghdad is the paradise of the Earth, the city of peace, the dome of Islam, the Rivers complex, the pearl of the country, the eye of Iraq, the house of caliphate, the home of beauty and delicacies, the nature of the merciful and the pilgrims. In Baghdad the great lords of all arts and the exceptional people of all kinds. If Iraq were the eye of the universe, Baghdad is the eye of Iraq and the city of peace, the dome of Islam, the home of beauty and delicacies and the essence of beauty and all goodness. It is Baghdad, the mother of the universe, the lady of the country, the eye of Iraq, the promenade of faraway countries and horizons. Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, the heritage of its unique history, the harbor of wisdom and bravery, the symbol of knowledge through time, the constant presence in man’s memory. Poets wrote about it passionately, and travelers from around the world considered it a destination where knowledge is sought.

The city of peace and the pearl of Islam is filled with love, faith and generosity. Baghdad is the spark of the past and the blossom of the present. It remained steadfast through the ages, defying challenges and ordinary times and renewing itself every time, shaking off the ashes of the bereavement when Hulagu invaded it with such grudge and deceit to extinguish the flame of light which Islam brought. So it turned its black page so that Baghdad’s message to humanity remains enlightening, to establish life and to build the unified capital of Islam in well-being and justice in order to continue its renaissance. This is Baghdad, the capital of the world, the essence of all goodness, the city which people were lead to carry the brigades of knowledge, ethics, courage, intelligence and sharpness of thoughts. Iraq is the country of Ibrahim, peace be upon him. God almighty made the people of Iraq the source of his knowledge and made mercy dwell in their hearts. Iraq is an old, long, continuous and permanent urban journey serving the city, science knowledge and man. A sun shone so bright in Iraq and its golden rays and brightness reached the horizons, guiding people with the light of its words. Baghdad is ever bursting with scents, bravery and bounties. It boasts of various kinds of fruits and aromatic flowers and its gardens are ever flourishing. Baghdad was and remains the beauty of all times and places. It enjoys a great source of water, a ubiquitous scent, a large surface and mystical dew.

Baghdad brought together scientists, writers, the world and religions, authenticity, tradition, beauty and glory. It remained an expression of something beautiful, precious, and great; a resort to migratory birds, mainly storks that nestled in the domes and minarets of mosques and in the domes and bells of some churches, filling summer nights with their beautiful voices which the people of Baghdad loved, got used to and never got fed up of.

A city of such depth in civilization and history has got to be chosen as a capital for Arab culture.

Baghdad the city of peace, the capital of the world, the spark of the past and the brightness of the future, the princess of countries and the lady of cities, the pride of civilization, the source of scientists, the home of writers and the refuge of poets, the symbol of humanity, the home of knowledge and the source of literature, the smile of times and the cradle of eloquence.

Baghdad is the “institution of God”, the “house of wisdom”, it is Paradise. Baghdad is the country of minarets and churches, the ray of light that spreads to all corners of the world. It gave humanity what no other city in the world could give throughout the times. In Baghdad, poetry is born and lives forever. In Baghdad, knowledge grows, flourishes and spreads in the horizons. In Baghdad, poems are more beautiful, science is more appealing and complete, literature is nobler and goodness is more widespread. Baghdad saw the first hours of time. On its land, man built the most amazing civilization in the world. From Baghdad broke the new dawn to the whole wide world.

When Abu Jaafar Al Mansur built the city of Baghdad, he named it the city of peace after Heaven and as a confirmation of mentioning God. That was the official name of Baghdad, which was written on all the manuscripts and documents. Therefore, when Abu Hatem Al Sajastani asked Abu Saeed Al Asmai: “Do you say Baghdad or Baghdadh?” he answered: “Say the city of peace”. Among the other names given to Baghdad is Paradise, referring to heaven, as well as the name Zora. As for the name Baghdad, it is of outlandish origin and it is given to the place where the house of peace was built and it means “the institution of God”. Arabs conjugated the word and one would hence say “the man became like Baghdad”, which means he became so great and arrogant.

It is said that Abu Jaafar Al Mansur brought thousands of architects and people of knowledge in the construction field and they set maps to build Baghdad. When the bedrock was put, he said “In the name of God the Merciful, thank God, the land is for God, to be inherited by whoever desires to do so and the consequence is for the cautious”. He then said: “Start the construction by God’s blessing”.

Baghdad reached the peak of its glory during the times of Harun Al Rashid and his son Al Maamoon, until it became the capital of the world. When one of the men of virtue was asked: “How did you see Baghdad?” he answered: “The whole world is a desert and Baghdad is its capital”. As for Imam Shafii, he said to Younes Bin Abdul Aala: “Have you been to Baghdad, Younes?” the latter answered: “No”. Imam Shafii then replied: “Then you have seen neither the world nor people”.

He also said: “I considered all the countries I have visited travel destinations, except for Baghdad; I considered it a home, and it will always remain as it was: the capital of the world and the lighthouse of human civilization”.

For all this and for more, it was decided during the meeting of the Arab ministers of culture in Amman in 2002 that Baghdad be the capital of Arab Culture for the year 2013, given the urban and cultural heritage this city enjoys, a heritage that has had a great impact throughout the ages. This choice enhances the cultural status of Baghdad on the Arab level through shedding the light on the historic, urban and traditional aspects of the city. All Iraqis are waiting for the moment when Baghdad becomes a capital for Arab culture just as it was a capital for the entire world. This choice came thanks to Baghdad’s big support to culture through past generations to an extent that cannot be neglected. The best proof of this cultural support is the Iraqi civilization with all the different cultures it possessed throughout the past years. Therefore, the idea of choosing Baghdad and the latter’s embracing this project and turning it into a reality echoes and helps bring together many Arab and foreign artists. This presence of Baghdad gave the Iraqi people the right to be proud and to celebrate Baghdad as a capital of culture. Every city, town, locality and tree has the right to be a capital of culture, because Arab culture is the special identity of every Arab and because Baghdad has been, throughout the ages, an oasis that enriches knowledge and thought, a platform for good and reforms, and a source of enlightenment to spread the culture of conscience and to re-establish determination in the Arab world, from east to west.

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