Unravelling the cradle of civilization "layer by layer" : Iraq, its peoples and cultural heritage
Title: Unravelling the cradle of civilization "layer by layer" : Iraq, its peoples and cultural heritage
Author: VRDOLJAK, Ana Filipa
Citation: Michele LANGFIELD, William LOGAN and Máiréad NIC CRAITH (eds), Cultural diversity, heritage and human rights : intersections in theory and practice, London ; New York : Routledge, 2010, Key issues in cultural heritage, pp. 65-83
ISBN: 9780415563673; 9780415563666; 9780203863015
The modern state of Iraq came into being with its demarcation by outside Powers following the First World War. This moment threw into stark relief two characteristics which have prevailed to the present day. On the one hand, a centrifugal force, the diversity of its constituent peoples, that is, the multifarious ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities which live within its territorial boundaries. On the other, its rich cultural heritage has been deployed consistently to imbue its populace with a unified, national sentiment - a centripetal force. The promotion and protection of both the diversity of minority cultures and religions (and related human rights of its practitioners) and the protection of cultural heritage lay largely in the lap of same entity, the government and officials of the state. The history of Iraq bears witness to the problematic nature of these multiple forces and responsibilities. Iraq has been an often tragic, testing ground for the themes of this book: cultural heritage, diversity and human rights. This chapter considers the twin forces of diversity and the pursuit of national unity as they have been played out in Iraq through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It is divided into three parts which follow a chronological line: first, the period from the British mandate to the establishment of the Kingdom of Iraq and the internalisation of external norms; second, the period from the Republic to the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, and the rise of nationalism and socialism during decolonisation; and finally, the invasion of Kuwait, the 1990-1991 Gulf War, 2003 coalition invasion and occupation, and post-war reconstruction and transition from occupier to occupied.
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