Tale of Two Arab Cities
|September 10, 2014||Filled under Iraqi Dinar|
Iraqi Dinar –
And just few decades ago, Baghdad was one of the richest cities in the world. Iraqi Dinar equaled about $3 at a time when Dubai didn’t have any form of economy.
At the beginning of this year 2014, Baghdad — Iraq’s capital city — was voted to be one of the least hospitable cities in the world. And Dubai, on the other hand, was voted as one of the most hospitable places. Nowadays, people are fleeing Baghdad in droves and Dubai is experiencing the exact opposite trend, as it has not only become a major tourist hub but has also emerged as a land of opportunities in its own right.
Baghdad is one of the most significant cities in the history of human civilization. It was the first city in the world to reach a population of over one million. This city was once the hub of learning in the world. It had a translation house and one of the oldest academic institutions, which was named the House of Wisdom. During the Abbasid rule, Baghdad was the center of science, art and music. It was a melting pot at its best. This magnificent city has a rich history but instead of marching further on the road to progress, it started to decline. It seems that on July 14, 1958 the clock stopped ticking for Baghdad and the city refused to move forward.
What was the status of the two Arab cities — Baghdad and Dubai — in 1958 and what happened afterward?
On July 14, 1958, Iraqi army officers, under Abd Al-Karim Qasim, staged a bloody coup that transformed the Kingdom of Iraq into the Republic of Iraq. King Faisal II, Prime Minister Nuri Al-Said and many members of the royal family were killed and their bodies were dragged through the streets of Baghdad. In later years, Abd Al-Karim Qasim was killed in more violent coup and the cycle of violence continued in the second largest Arab capital.
In 1958, the city of Dubai had nothing to boast about. It was still under British protection and the world hardly knew anything about Dubai.
Just few decades ago, a minute of the water flow from the Tigris River, which runs through Baghdad, carried more water than what the city of Dubai could see in a year. Baghdad’s system of education was far advanced at a time when there were virtually no schools in Dubai. And just few decades ago, Baghdad was one of the richest cities in the world. Iraqi Dinar equaled about $3 at a time when Dubai didn’t have any form of economy. Dubai was a small fishing village and Baghdad was the center of technology in the Arab world. There are many historical tourist attractions in Baghdad. The Iraqis could have built high-rise buildings, shopping malls and boat ramps along the Tigris River and would have made more money than what they are making from exporting oil. And this is what Dubai did. The government of Dubai built the most modern civic infrastructure for the citizens, expats and tourists. Just a few decades ago, Baghdad was light years ahead of Dubai but now Baghdad is light years apart from where Dubai stands now. Dubai achieved miracles in a very short time and Baghdad self-destructed itself in a very short time.
Now, Dubai is emerging as the center of world’s tourism through its massive development projects. Dubai hosts various sporting and cultural events round the year attracting millions of visitors from across the globe. Recently, Dubai announced its plans to build the World’s Mall, which is expected to be the largest entertainment and shopping center of the world. Most important aspect of Dubai’s modernization is its commitment to preserve its heritage.
While the city of Baghdad was busy recovering from the continuous political instability, Dubai was busy achieving new heights in various spheres of life.
Baghdad and its people can once again rise to new heights and reclaim the city’s old status. Iraqis are very talented and hardworking people. They should learn from their own history. They should realize that the reason behind Baghdad’s greatness was its tolerance. There was a time when talented people from around the world converged on Baghdad and worked together for its betterment. The ongoing sectarian violence will only bring more destruction. Assets are supposed to be utilized not wasted and this is what Dubai did.
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