Friday, May 24, 2019

It’s in the Name

Peoples with Arab roots are known to be religious, passionate and straightforward. Their word is as valuable as any commodity and their reputation and good name is one of the biggest treasures a man can possess in his lifetime. Al Methaq is one of those treasured values. The Arabic phrase means commitment and engagement and it stands true to traditional virtues of Arab people.

A company producing and delivering food chose the phrase for its name. A conservative newspaper in Yemen even used the same name to signify its core values to its readers. Perhaps Al Methaq is more known as a district in Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city after Baghdad. Mosul is a city at the crossroads of its rich history and progress, especially before the United States led invasion of Iraq commenced.

Mosul is strategic in terms of economic, political significance. In fact, its name and its variations mean linking point, Junction City or the mother of two springs – where two meet to become one. The present day city is actually a sprout of the old historical Niniveh located just across the Tigris River. Nineveh is mentioned in the Bible as the city where the prophet Jonah was spitted out by a whale (after he was eaten whole) to start preaching the word of God. Niniveh was the last capital of the ancient war like empire of the Assyrians, who along with Bablynonians occupied the area known today as Iraq.

The importance of Mosul and Al Methaq as historical and religious sites cannot also be downplayed. The city is a center for a Christian sect called the Church of the East Christianity of the Assyrians. The city also contained tombs of Old Testament prophets such as Jonah and Nahum.
Its significance is shown by the diversity of its history and population. There are modern Arabs, Assyrians, Kurds and Turks as well, others smaller ethnic groups. This diversity was caused for pockets of violence in the heat of the United States occupation of Iraq, as groups battled for supremacy in the city 405 kilometers north of Baghdad.

Mosul and its district of Al Methaq have occupied a lofty seat in the rich history of Islam and Christianity as well as of other religions. It also played a major role in the history of the world. However, recent events dragged Al Methaq into a pit of violence, turmoil and mayhem. Nevertheless, progress and growth are in the horizon. The diverse people of the city should go back and learn the meaning of the word Al Methaq, commitment and engagement, then they will realize that the way to unity in diversity is to join together and talk.

This way peace and prosperity could reign in the city of where the two springs meet, the old and the new, the friends and the foe, peace and prosperity.

Or else, just like the Assyrians that ruled over Nineveg and Mosul before, they will fall prey to conquerors and their gracious marks in history, eradicated from memory.