Friday, February 11, 2005

Thinking Outside the Box

Some of you might remember when I mentioned my West Point classmate (we'll call him "Mike") who found my site via the Wizbang Awards (he recognized the "2Slick" moniker- which originated when we were in flight school together). He's a Kiowa Warrior (OH-58D) pilot, and he served a year in Fallujah during the time I was in Mosul. He and I have had some excellent debates and discussions over the past few months, and he recently sent me the following gem- read it, and you'll understand why I've been trying to talk him into starting his own blog:

A suggestion for the first major decision of the new government: a new name for the country.

'Iraq' has a history basically from WWI, and the British mandate following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire - the last vestige of the Muslim Caliphate. The problem is (besides a name imposed by the British Empire) that the name does nothing to unify or appeal to the people who live their now. There is no overwhelming sense of Iraqi nationalism- no ethnic, religious, political or cultural unifying theme in Iraq.

I would suggest that the new government look to the rich history of the region - the birthplace of civilization, and appeal to the historical significance of the area within Iraq's borders. By going back before the birth of Islam, you bypass the Shia-Sunni strife, and going back far enough you can claim the first modern culture in the world. Call the new Nation Sumer or Babylon appeals to the pride, nationalism, and helps redefine an identity. That identity will be key in defeating the Sunni-Shia-Kurd-insurgent factions as they struggle to find a place in the new country. Calling it Babylon appeals to the people and helps them define themselves in a new way, outside of the horrible history of the last century - much in the same way Egypt or Syria claim a historic heritage to the ancient civilizations, the newly elected government should choose a new name that unifies the country, appeals to their rich history, and by passes the existing divisions with a goal of building a newer, stronger nation.

Anyway, just a thought. If I lived there, I'd want people to identify themselves as a Babylonian (or Sumerian, whatever - Babylon may have poor connotations to the Christian world) than a Sunni, or Shia, or Kurd - it's a way to build some unity, and capitalize on the promise of the elections.

Smart stuff, huh? I agree with him 100%. I'd be interested to see how the guys at Iraq the Model feel about such an idea. If anyone out there is tight with those guys (or any other Iraqi bloggers out there), please try to ping them for their thoughts...

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