The fabrication of Iraqi history
Posted: Thursday, April 09, 2015 at 02:15 PM UT
|The ancient city of Babylon (Babil province, Iraq)|
Iraq forms a large, coherent and well-defined geographical territory. Nourished by the headwaters of the 'Euphrates' and 'Tigris' rivers, the region was once identified as 'Mesopotamia' by the Greeks. Throughout antiquity, Iraq's ancient inhabitants - Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians - shared the same brilliant civilization and played the leading role in Near Eastern politics, arts, science, philosophy, religion and literature. The legacy of these ancient civilizations is now at risk of survival as Iraq's history is being erased and re-written in a new wave of historical revisionism. The importance of accuracy in Iraq's ancient history is pivotal due to it's contribution in effectively shaping Iraq's identity, culture, traditions, past, present and future.
The practice of historiography is one deemed a professional skill requiring extensive training and experience in critically assessing (primary, secondary, tertiary) sources and placing them in context. Professional historians differ in many aspects to amateur historians, the latter not possessing the training, skill and academically recognised accreditation. The basic qualification for a professional historian is an honours degree or equivalent from an academic institution. The qualification must be recognised by the regulatory body of that country and meet national standards for accreditation.
In historiography, historical revisionism is the method practised by historians (professional or amateur) who seek to legitimately re-examine historical events due to the availability of new data, or illegitimately subvert historical facts.
This investigative report will examine the latter.
Revisionists accomplish their goal by under-emphasizing or deliberately neglecting the aspects of history they deem inaccurate and overemphasising those portions they deem acceptable. Other techniques include the deliberate manipulation of translated texts, exploitation of opinions, fabrication of archaeological data and obscuring the truth using falsified information. Revisionism is a practice used for either political motivation, propaganda, prejudice, bias-context, or altering public perception and opinion- which in some countries is punishable by law.
In his controversial publication entitled 'The untold story of native Iraqis'- Iraqi-born visual artist Amer Hanna Fatuhi has come under intense public scrutiny. Released in 2012, the self-published pseudo-history narrative has generated heated speculation regarding the author's historicity, credibility and motives. The preface centres around the "exploration of the indigenous peoples of Iraq”, in this instance the ancient Chaldeans and their contribution to all civilisations.
It is without a doubt, the ancient Chaldeans were the driving force behind the advancement of Mesopotamian astronomy and science, their philosophers sophisticated the already established observations and devised complex theories to describe the cosmological phenomena. In the 3rd century BCE, Alexander the Great conquers Babylon and it is here where the Greeks would adopt the knowledge of the Chaldeans, later expanding to the western world. One must wonder who these once advanced ancient people were, their origins, political history and influence in ancient Iraq.
|The following map conveys the ancient historical territory which came to be known as Kal-du (Chaldea) during the 2nd Millennium BCE.|
According to Fatuhi, the “proto-Kaldi” being the founding fathers of the earliest cities of Eridu, Uruk and Ur- pre-date the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations. To the unfamiliar reader, that would be the case- nevertheless, not a single shred of independent archaeological data exists today validating these claims. Furthermore, sources cited by the author appear to be outdated and deliberately misinterpreted to validate the authors speculative context. The decipherment of ancient cuneiform data began in the early years of the 18th century as European scholars, historians and archaeologists began excavations throughout Iraq. Incredibly, over 30,000 tablets have since been unearthed, some of which are yet to be deciphered. Prior to the decipherment of cuneiform data, historians heavily relied much on Biblical sources which today prove contradictory to most ancient data. Within the last decade, a number of impressive tablets have been deciphered shedding light on the peoples of ancient Iraq- one of which are the ancient Chaldeans.
|Black obelisk of Shalmaneser (British Museum)|
It is noteworthiness, the earliest account of the ancient Chaldeans occurs in the black obelisk of Assyrian king Shalmaneser whom archaeologists concur reigned during the 8th century BCE. The origins of the ancient Chaldeans is shrouded in obscurity. Moreover, all available archaeological data concurs that the ancient Chaldeans were a 'semi-nomadic' group of peoples who planted their seeds in the marshlands of southern Babylonia, latter Chaldea in the 2nd millennium BCE. Fragmentary cuneiform data from Uruk, Babylon, Nippur and Assyria validate the existence of Chaldean clans within the southern marshlands adjacent to the Persian Gulf. Moreover, the data identify Chaldea as “the nomad land” according to administrative Babylonian fragments, “Kal-du the enemy of Babylon” according to Esarhaddon's Prism, “the enemy” according to an administrative documentation from Nippur and their kings as “plunderers” according to numerous Mesopotamian documentation. I have taken the liberty of citing the sources in my reference list below.
Evidently, much of the deciphered cuneiform data concur that the ancient Babylonians were mistreated, their lands seized and religious temples plundered by the riotous foreign Chaldean clans. In an astonishing tablet unearthed in the ancient city of Uruk, a fragmentary primary source of archaeological data descriptively validates the reign of the first evidently Chaldean king of Babylon;
Furthermore, Assyrian records pertaining to the regin of Sargon II provide for in vivid detail the atrocities committed by Chaldean rebel 'Marduk-apla-iddina II'. In his annals, Sargon writes;
According to the Babylonian chronicles, a native Akkadian king 'Nabonasser' would ally with the Assyrians in efforts to subdue the foreign Chaldean resistance to the kingdom of Babylon and cease their forty-five year rebellious dynasty. In his publication entitled "the history of the world", British historian John Morris Roberts writes;
British professor H.W.F. Saggs in his publication entitled "Babylonians" writes;
During the Hellenic-era of Babylonia, an ethnic Chaldean priest by the name of Berosus would begin work on three books concerning the early history of Babylon. In his publication entitled “The untold story of native Iraqis”, Fatuhi writes;
"Berossus... in his three-volumes book about the history of Chaldeans (Babylonica) (280 BC) gives the account that human being creation started in Babylon and that the first eighty-six kings who ruled Mesopotamia were Chaldeans and so were the last kings of Babylon.".
Whilst studying the fragmentary work concerning Berosus, it is apparent in detecting the mythological context. Berosus accounts to a mythical period, one reckoning 432,000 years and chronologically lists a dubious list of alleged Chaldean kings reigning approximately 36,000 years. Furthermore, continues to allege all documentation pertaining to the chronology of these alleged rulers was destroyed by the Babylonian king Nabonasser as to erase their existence. Berosus's claims are in such improbable a circumstance as to deprive him of all credibility and it may therefore be justly concluded that there are no primary data to exhibit or validate such claims. Moreover, all current archaeological data from Uruk, Babylon, Nippur and Assyria (from which fall in line) prove contradictory to Berosus.
Archaeological forgery is the deliberate alteration or outright fabrication of archaeological data. In his publication entitled 'The untold story of native Iraqis', Fatuhi provides for descriptive text in regards to the 'Mušḫuššu' (Babylonian mythological figure) on page 24. Referencing one image in particular, an ancient bass relief depicting the cuneiform inscription "Kal-du"- Akkadian transliteration to the English word “Chaldea”. Upon careful investigation and examination, the visual data cited appeared to have experienced a high degree of digital manipulation in way to enhance and encourage the visual-artist's intended interpretation.
Fig. 1 (manipulated data – 'the untold story of native Iraqis, p. 24') and
|Fig. 3 (www.kaldaya.net | website header) and Fig. 4 (credit to Amer Hanna Fatuhi)|
“Please do not try to walk any further in this path because you are walking on quicksand. Your seven lines have so many mistakes and untrue statements that need pages to correct them. However, instead of going back and forth, all your answers are in my book. Please do not waste my time anymore and please switch to credible resources because most of what you have stated is almost fantasy.” - Amer Hanna Fatuhi (Facebook response to a critic)
"Google the term research academically and you would learn what you do not. For your information I was selected among ten creative people from all over the world by the academic institute WLT-OU in 2009, and that is one among many credentials. Do you think that those who are running such institution are dumb, but you are... to question me. Who gave you the right to write to me in the first place, when you are not event a student in this field “ancient Mesopotamia”? By the way, I have two children your age, "Sumer & Nannar" who graduated from MSU in the field of Telecommunications and media technology. Once again, son you and those who cannot stand the truth will learn in details what will silence them for good. Son, let your scholars who are hiding under their tables for the last twenty years “if they dare” to examine the message of my books and debate it, not using you and other kids in your age as a pawn to shoot the messenger." - Amer Hanna Fatuhi (Response when asked to kindly cite which academic institution Fatuhi had attended.)
In historiography, the accuracy in composing text for publication regarding ancient events or archaeological data must be accurately recorded and correctly disseminated. Historical revisionism conceals the veracity and attests to be harmful. Those whom are unfamiliar with the civilizations of ancient Iraq would simply assume the self-published narrative to be factual when in fact, it is fallacious and deceptive. Contrary to his biography, Fatuhi does not in fact hold any professional accreditation in the fields of historiography, archaeology or cuneiform study. The visual-artist by trade has been unresponsive or in-direct whilst queried regarding his credentials. With the credibility of the textual and visual evidence demonstrated above now highly suspect, we, the Iraqi people should be all skeptical of and repudiate any claims made by Amer Hanna Fatuhi.
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