The word itself, Mesopotamia, means the land between rivers. It is where the wheel was invented, irrigation flourished and the earliest known system of writing emerged. The rivers here, some scholars say, fed the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon and converged at the place described in the Bible as the Garden of Eden.
Now, so little water remains in some villages near the Euphrates River that families are dismantling their homes, brick by brick, piling them into pickup trucks — window frames, doors and all — and driving away.
“You would not believe it if I say it now, but this was a watery place,” said Sheikh Adnan al Sahlani, a science teacher here in southern Iraq near Naseriyah, a few miles from the Old Testament city of Ur, which the Bible describes as the hometown of the Prophet Abraham.
These days, “nowhere has water,” he said. Everyone who is left is “suffering a slow death.”
You don’t have to go back to biblical times to find a more verdant Iraq. Well into the 20th century, the southern city of Basra was known as the “Venice of the East” for its canals, plied by gondola-like boats that threaded through residential neighborhoods.
Indeed, for much of its history, the Fertile Crescent — often defined as including swaths of modern-day Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran, the West Bank and Gaza — did not lack for water, inspiring centuries of artists and writers who depicted the region as a lush ancient land. Spring floods were common, and rice, one of the most water-intensive crops in the world, was grown for more than 2,000 years.
Climate change and desertification are to blame, scientists say. So are weak governance and the continued reliance on wasteful irrigation techniques that date back millenniums to Sumerian times.
Climate change is destroying Iraq right now. And where is con artist and cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr? Doing nothing of course. Sadr City, bearing his name, remains a slum. All these years, he's not lifted a finger to make life better in Sadr City. It's among the worst hit during the raining seasons because the infrastructure is so poor that there's standing water throughout after any heavy rain.
He loves to fauxtest but he won't protest. And that's why a rainy season means electrocutions in Sadr City over and over.
He does nothing to help the Iraqi people.
Power was cut off in large swaths of southern and central Iraq for much of Saturday during scorching summer heat and observances of the Shiite holy day of Ashoura after a fire broke out at a power station in the southern city of Basra.
The fire at the Al-Bkir substation in Basra resulted in the separation of transmission lines linking the southern and central regions, leading to a complete shutdown of the electrical system in the area, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity said in a statement. It said the fire was accidental.
The power outage came as the electrical system faces other challenges, including fuel shortages and surging demands for electricity during a major heat wave. On Saturday, temperatures reached 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 degrees Farenheit).
116 degrees and no power? Their elected leaders have failed them and the self-appointed ones like cult leader Moqtada have as well.
A fire broke out at the Al-Bkir substation in Basra and resulted in the separation of transmission lines linking southern and central regions, leading to a complete shutdown of the electrical system in the area, Iraq's Ministry of Electricity said in a statement. It said the fire was accidental.
"The power grid experienced a total shutdown on Saturday at 12:40 p.m. (0940 GMT/UTC) due to a fire that affected a transmission substation in Basra province," the ministry said.
Ministry spokesman Ahmed Moussa told the AFP news agency that at some point the incident affected main supply to "all of Iraq."
"Speedy repairs are under way ... to gradually restart the power plants and transmission lines," the ministry said.
A leader has failed to emerge in Iraq, one who would fight for the people.
We'll wind down with this from Kevin Rector (LOS ANGELES TIMES):
Forty-five years ago, Sue Englander went door knocking in San Francisco to tell anyone who would listen that she was a proud bisexual woman who supported LGBTQ+ rights.
Other queer activists were fanning out across California to do the same as part of a 1978 campaign to defeat a ballot measure that would have made it illegal for gay men and lesbians — and possibly their allies — to teach in the state’s public schools.
The activists saw the measure as an attack on LGBTQ+ teachers and queer people’s 1st Amendment right to free speech, so they used that same right to share their stories and shift public sentiment against the measure — which voters ultimately rejected.
“We were able to overcome, and stop in its tracks really, this attempt to silence not just teachers but the expression of support for LGBTQ rights,” said Englander, now a 71-year-old history lecturer at San Francisco State University.
It’s a lesson that came back to Englander, she said, after the U.S. Supreme Court used the law in a very different way — ruling that a Colorado wedding website designer with religious objections to same-sex nuptials had a 1st Amendment right to refuse service to queer couples.
The high court’s June 30 ruling in 303 Creative vs. Elenis was a clear blow to the LGBTQ+ rights movement, raising questions for queer people and other minorities about where they might be next denied service. But it was also a reminder to keep fighting, Englander said — that the battle over queer rights is far from over, and every defeat can be challenged.
“The Supreme Court does not necessarily have the last say,” said Englander, still defiant. “Don’t give up the ship.”
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