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It was the legendary traveller Wilfred Thesiger who first introduced Gavin Young to the Marshes of Iraq. Since then Young has been entranced by both the beauty of the Marshes and by the Marsh Arabs who inhabit them, a people whose lifestyle is almost unchanged from that of their predecessors, the Ancient Sumerians. On his return to the Marshes some years later Gavin Young found that the twentieth-century had rudely intruded on this lifestyle and that war was threatening to make the Marsh Arabs existence extinct. Return to the Marshes, first published in 1977, is at once a moving tribute to a unique way of life as well as a love story to a place and its people. 'A superbly written essay which combines warmth of personal tone, a good deal of easy historical scholarship and a talent for vivid description rarely found outside good fiction.' Jonathan Raban, Sunday Times
“Five thousand years of history were here and the pattern was still unchanged.” During the years he spent among the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq, Wilfred Thesiger came to understand, admire and share a way of life that had endured for many centuries. Travelling from village to village by canoe, he won acceptance by dispensing medicines and treating the sick. In this account of his time there, he pays tribute to the hospitality, loyalty, courage and endurance of the people, describes their impressive reed houses, the waterways and lakes teeming with wildlife, the herding of buffalo and hunting of wild boar, moments of tragedy and moments of pure comedy, all in vivid, engaging detail. Untouched by the modern world until recently, these independent people, their way of life and their surroundings suffered widespread destruction under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Wilfred Thesiger's magnificent account of his time spent among them is a moving testament to their now threatened culture and the landscape they inhabit. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Annotation. This text is for those wishing to develop an understanding of a cultural legacy and lifestyle that survives today only as a fragmented cultural inheritance. The book illustrates how the economy and lives of the Ma'dan (Marsh Arabs) that spans over 5000 years remained similar to the ancient practices of their Sumerian forebears.
The Arab tribes of Iraq differ widely in custom but remain in all essentials of thought and conduct a distinctive and unique group. Their land embraces wide deserts, fertile fields and boundless swamps; its unique features shape the lives of its people. Taking the figure of Haji Rikkan as a central focus, the writer-traveller attempts to create a picture of Arab tribal life as a whole.
What can the present tell us about the past? From 1968 to 1990, Edward Ochsenschlager conducted ethnoarchaeological fieldwork near a mound called al-Hiba, in the marshes of southern Iraq. In examining the material culture of three tribes—their use of mud, reed, wood, and bitumen, and their husbandry of cattle, water buffalo, and sheep—he chronicles what is now a lost way of life. He helps us understand ancient manufacturing processes, an artifact's significance and the skill of those who create and use it, and the substantial moral authority wielded by village craftspeople. He reveals the complexities involved in the process of change, both natural and enforced. Al-Hiba contains the remains of Sumerian people who lived in the marshes more than 5,000 years ago in a similar ecological setting, using similar material resources. The archaeological evidence provides insights into everyday life in antiquity. Ochsenschlager enhances the comparisons of past and present by extensive illustrations from his fieldwork and also from the University Museum's rare archival photographs taken in the late nineteenth century by John Henry Haynes. This was long before Saddam Hussein drove one of the tribes from the marshes, forced the Bedouin to live elsewhere, and irrevocably changed the lives of those who tried to stay.
Offers a history of the people of Iraq and describes daily life in the cities and rural areas, education, and favorite foods of Iraq.
Featuring verbatim testimony from key political and security fi gures, this play examines the criminal implications of the British Government’s decision to use force against Iraq. Two leading barristers have examined a range of witnesses in order to test the evidence of the grounds for the indictment of the British Prime Minister. The play is presented as a trial in which the audience decides whether an indictment is proven.

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