Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day F: Furat, and a murdered king

This April, I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, writing about the A to Z of Iraqi Culture. Do give in your own two cents in the comments below and let me know if you have anything to add or something similar to share from your own culture.


This is Furat, known in English as the Euphrates River- a long river that begins in Turkey, journeys through Syria and ends up in Iraq, uniting with his twin brother- the Tigris.

The Furat is an important river in Iraq, and was particularly so in ancient Mesopotamia, being a main reason it was such a rich, agricultural land.

Not only so but Iraqis romanticize this river. It featured countless times in the earliest work of literature- the Epic of Gilgamesh. But to this day, the Furat is depicted again and again in works of art- songs, paintings and poems- many times personalized and its state of well-being considered synonymous with that of Iraq's.

Of particular significance is the Furat being the setting of the Tragedy of Karbala in the year 680, where the Prophet Muhammad's grandson Hussein along with his children were brutally killed by the forces of the Caliph at that time for failing to recognize them as legitimate leaders. For this, the Furat is mentioned in almost all eulogies and poetry written to commemorate this tragedy.


One of the significant days in Iraq's history was 14th July 1958- the day Iraq's King- Faisal the Second- was killed at the age of twenty-three.

A secret military group, identifying themselves as the Free Officers, overthrew the monarchy, inspired by the coup d'etat that had taken place six years before that in Egypt. The King, the Crown Prince, as well as all the other Princesses and members of the Royal Family were killed along with their servants.

With their murder died the Kingdom that once was, and although I can never be sure, but it seems to be the opening page of a long chapter of dark days- a chapter whose last page seems so far away.



  1. Hello. I really enjoyed your post. As you probably know, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are two that are prominently mentioned in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, as well. Apparently are considered to be the birthplace of civilization, too. Keep writing...Best regards to you. Ruby

  2. Muharam, the first month of our calender year, lost its celebratory happiness because of the battle of Karbala. I tell this to my children and they get very sad, as New Year is a very big celebration in the USA.
    Thanks for pointing out the facts about the Tigris and the Euphrates.
    The painting is beautiful. I like the fact that the girl is wearing a Hijab, in a very simple way.

  3. I'm really enjoying your A-Z. The Euphrates is one of history's famous rivers which I've read about particularly in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. Iraq has seen a lot of dark days since that assassination you mentioned. It would be great if Iraq could re-emerge as one of the worlds great historical places!

    Keep Calm and A-Z
    An A-Z of learning English
    Round the world from A to Z

  4. Thank You for this Brilliant Post! I had never heard the word "Furat." and, the history lesson you are kind enough to offer - is one i have been hungry to learn.
    What a treasure you have given us all.
    Happy A to Z Adventure!

  5. A beautiful river and a sad story.......awesome choice for F! Really enjoyed reading it! :)

  6. I remember its references in Gilgamesh! But I never thought to actually look Furat up. That's wonderful, thank you for sharing.

    from John at The Bathroom Monologues

  7. Oh! Muharram is indeed a month of sadness and mourning for we Muslims. Thanks for highlighting the story again, the more someone reminds me the more my faith becomes stronger.

  8. I'm learning so much from this challenge.

    I'm lovin this Blog Challenge! Its rockin my face off.

  9. What a beautiful blue the river is. Gilgamesh sparked a lifelong interest in Mesopotamia for me. Thanks for these new tidbits.

  10. Interesting and tragic. I'm glad to learn some new things today!

    Jenny at Choice City Native

  11. What I love about this blog challenge is coming across such interesting topics, and people of course. Although I'm familiar with the Tigris and Euphrates rivers from Bible study and geography/history classes at school, it's nice to be reminded and reading about it in a different context. -Belinda [A -Z participant].

  12. Really interesting - a topic I've never really heard much about before. Look forward to reading the rest of your posts.

    Happy A to Zing :)

    Spoon Paws @

  13. Thank you for that history lesson :) Call me stupid, but I didn't even know Iraq had a royal family once. Hence the 'lost chapter' makes sense... :/

  14. Really enjoying reading your A-Z posts. Maybe I'll try my hand at a future challenge one day.


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