The 14 Words

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Baghdad was beautiful once

Wait a sec. Is this Baghdad or Venice?

THE human cost of war in Iraq has been devastating. But Iraq has suffered economically too. As its economy has crumbled, so too have its once beautiful cities.

In an annual survey of the world’s most liveable major cities conducted last year, Baghdad ranked dead last at number 223 on the list. And that was before the recent chaos with ISIS.

But Baghdad was beautiful once. The Iraqi capital was peaceful, elegant and prosperous. Think of Baghdad, or any Iraqi city, and you likely conjure images of bombed-out buildings, rubble and dusty streets lined with beat-up vehicles. But Baghdad was once the flourishing capital of a fledgling democracy.

There’s an excellent video doing the rounds this week which shows life in Baghdad in 1956. It’s quite the eye-opener. Girls play volleyball, men play board games in open air cafes while sipping strong Arabic coffee, the police force looks purposeful, the traffic is orderly. (Please excuse the blurry stills but they’re the best we could get).

When Baghdad was beautiful:

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