The Ghosts of Iraq's Marshes: A History of Conflict, Tragedy, and Restoration (Hardcover)

The Ghosts of Iraq's Marshes: A History of Conflict, Tragedy, and Restoration By Steve Lonergan, Jassim Al-Asadi, Keith Holmes Cover Image
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The gripping history of the devastation and resurrection of the Marshes of Iraq, an environmental treasure of the Middle East, now a protected site

The Mesopotamian Marshes in southern Iraq, once the largest wetland system on the planet, have been inhabited for thousands of years by the Ma'dan, or Marsh Arabs, but they remain remote, isolated, and virtually unknown. In the early 1990s, the Saddam Hussein regime drained the Marshes and set out to destroy not only a critical ecosystem but a unique way of life as well. It stands as one of the greatest environmental and humanitarian disasters of the twentieth century. In the wake of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, local residents destroyed the earthen dams built to divert water from the wetlands and the Marshes were reflooded. Their future, however, is in peril.

The Ghosts of Iraq's Marshes tells the history of the creation, destruction, and revitalization of the Marshes and their inhabitants against the backdrop of the dramatic events that have convulsed Iraq in the past fifty years. It follows the life of Jassim al-Asadi, an irrigation engineer who was jailed and tortured under Saddam Hussein and who subsequently dedicated his life to the reflooding and restoration of the Marshes. He eventually contributed to the Marshes being declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Jassim is eminently relatable, and the stories of his life and other marsh dwellers are infused with pathos, tragedy, humor, and passion.

About the Author

Steve Lonergan is professor emeritus in the Department of Geography, at the University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada, and former director of the Science Division at the United Nations Environment Programme. From 2006 to 2010, he led the Canadian-Iraq Marshlands Initiative, funded by the Canadian government. His books include Watershed: The Role of Fresh Water in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (with David B. Brooks, 1994). Jassim Al-Asadi is an Iraqi engineer and environmental activist who was born in the marshes of southern Iraq. He played a pivotal role in the registration of the Marshes as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2016. Contributing author Keith Holmes is a geospatial scientist at the Hakai Institute in Victoria, BC, Canada. He is one of the authors of The Atlas of the Iraqi Marshes, published by the Canadian-Iraq Marshlands Initiative.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781649033253
ISBN-10: 1649033257
Publisher: American University in Cairo Press
Publication Date: February 6th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English