Thursday, June 07, 2007

Ali al Wardi

Iraqi Konfused Kid has been translating the works of Ali al Wardi, touted by exile iraqi/gilgamesh since the inception of this blog. I did not realize how important al-Wardi's works are in Iraqi history and sociology. Konfused Kid writes:

Ali al-Wardi is often considered the 'Godfather' of Iraqi sociology, A secular-styled writer of Shiite lineage, al-Wardi has written what many considered to be the definitive books on the history of Iraq and the psychology of its unfortunate inhabitants. His neutrality, which rejected both Marxist communism and Pan-Arab nationalism (the two major sparring factions at the time) put him at great troubles. I have long searched for his books and by a stroke of luck managed to find them online. I have been reading in this book 'Glimpses' for quite a while, in the following series of posts I am going to translate what I felt is relevant and crucial for those who want to understand why is this going on in Iraq. This book was published in 1951, but it didn't take it long for me to be dumbfounded by how little we progressed, and how much we stepped back. Take a look and see for yourself. al-Wardi, like my least favorite bloggers Iraq The Model unfortunately agree with me, is a must-read for anyone who even thinks of breaking it into understanding Iraq. This is for all the people who think 'Iraq' is still related to those distant civillizations we like to trumpet every now and other: The Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadains, even our own Islamic civillizations of Kufa, and Harun al-Rashid's Abbasid Baghdad, have nothing to do with the Ottoman-Saffavid foundations this bastard Iraq was built upon.

al-Wardi explains that Iraq has basically always been a protectorate of the Ottamans (Sunni) and Iran (Shii), and that ever since the Persian Saffavid dynasty, Iraq has been the "grounds for violent clashes between the Iranian and Ottoman states, something that will last for three centuries. From here the famous Iraqi saying: “be nil ajam wil room balwa ibtilayna” (Between the Ajam (Persians) and Room (Turks) we fell into tragedy)..." It's a very interesting read and explains a lot about the history of sectarian tensions in Iraq. Until I read Kid's post, I had never thought of the sectarian conflict in Iraq as being a proxy war between the Ottomans and Persia. I wonder if al-Wardi were alive today he would agree that Saudi Arabia has replaced the Ottomans as the primary protectors of Sunnism in Iraq. Thank you, Kid, for translating al-Wardi's work. I look forward to reading more.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for your blog. I am an American who has been privileged to meet several Iraqi families living in the US. I would like a broader understanding of Iraqi and the middle east, actually any understanding at all. Ali al-Wardi was recommended to me as an author but I do not read Arabic...yet. Has anyone translated any of his books into English?