(Please press the Play button to load the presentation above).
There are many of us who went to school and were tempted to sleep through History class, thinking that a "boring" subject like History, couldn't possibly be important, as it just didn't have any bearing on the present or the future.
It was not until my History teacher reemphasized a central truth - that people really haven't changed much since "ancient times" and that history often repeats itself, that I began to take my History classes more seriously.
You see, technology may have made us more efficient and more effective at getting our work done and enabling a better quality of life...
...But how we think, our ability to love, be loved, our habits , who we are - the good parts - e.g. our ability to give love abundantly and the not-so-good parts - our selfish, jealous, covetous, power-hungry nature, hasn't changed since ancient times. :)
A recent Scientific American article, "Fall of Ancient Empire Linked to Crisis in Syria", sheds more light on this phenomenon.
The authors reiterate that the current crisis in Syria is not new and that a similar Syrian crisis led to the fall of the Ancient Mesopotamian empire in 2,200BC.
Background to the Ancient Mesopotamian Empire
(Please click map for more detail).
The extent and power of Ancient Mesopotamia (known today as Asia and including the Middle East), is similar to the power wielded by the United States, Europe and China, today.
These guys were big and had extensive social and trade networks that linked them with civilizations in the Aegean and middle Euphrates...yep these guys' networks extended into Europe and Africa.
Moreover, according to the above article, there are parallels that can be drawn between Ancient Mesopotamia and the present-day Syrian civilizations.
Militarism, violence, governmental collapse and drought, ended the reign of the Akkadian Empire - situated dead centre of Mesopotamia...the city imploded, causing similar ripple effects in and around Mesopotamia.
Present-day violence, militarism and possible governmental collapse is not only threatening stability in Syria, but its neighbours who wield considerable power in the Middle East.
According to the article, just as how climate change and its resultant drought added to the above problems experienced by the Akkadian empire in 2,200BC, so too is climate change today, as it is already causing severe drought in northeastern Syria, whose farmers rely heavily on rainfall.
All these factors are threatening to make Syria and the Middle East implode...just as they did to the Akkadian empire and Mesopotamia in 2,200 BC.
So, should you be paying closer attention to history - not just that taught in class, but history in general?
The answer is a big, yes!
Knowing your history and how people of ancient times responded to challenges faced, will give you great insight into how present-day populations will respond to similar challenges.
It also teaches how not to repeat old mistakes.
A word to the wise is sufficient! :)
(I'd like to thank:
1) Lara Setrakian for the use of her video presentation above, entitled, "Syria: The Basics".
NB: The video is for information purposes only. We are not soliciting help for Syria).
2) NordNordWest for the use of their Wiki Commons map, entitled, "Map of Mesopotamia", under the CC-BY-3.0 license.
Article, "Fall of Ancient Empire Linked to Crisis in Syria", By Moheb Costandi and Nature magazine, February 22, 2013