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Mesopotamian / Iraqi Marshes with the so called Marsh Arabs. Source: Felix Friebe / Adobe Stock.

Iraq's Marshes Are Dying, and A Civilization With Them (Video)

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The Mesopotamian marshes in Iraq, once a thriving ecosystem and the heart of an ancient Marsh Arab civilization, are facing a dire threat as they wither away. Parched by a prolonged drought, the marshes are gradually dying, leading to a devastating impact on the Marsh Arab communities who have called this unique environment home for millennia. The situation has become so critical that many Marsh Arabs are left with no choice but to abandon their ancestral lands and migrate elsewhere in search of sustenance and safety. As the marshes shrink, the water becomes polluted, endangering the livelihoods of water buffalo herders who relied on the marshes for grazing and water resources.

In places like Chibayish, once a vibrant center of Marsh Arab culture, only a few pockets of the ancient waterways remain, connected by narrow channels amidst the reeds. These remnants symbolize the fragile existence of a civilization deeply rooted in the harmonious coexistence with nature. The vanishing of the marshes not only threatens the unique ecosystem and the diverse flora and fauna it supports but also erases a rich cultural heritage. Only through concerted efforts and global awareness can the last remnants of this ancient civilization and its natural habitat be preserved for future generations.

Top image: Mesopotamian / Iraqi Marshes with the so called Marsh Arabs. Source: Felix Friebe / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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