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         Jan 07, 2008

Connect to the Very Source of Your Western Civilization - IRAQ -

By Sharing a Cultural Week with its Artists

The West seeks to lead Iraqis towards civilization. Ironically, civilization itself was born in ancient Mesopotamia, now called Iraq, over 7300 years ago. There are more than 300,000 multi-ethnic Iraqis in metro Detroit, triple the numbers of all Arabs who reside in Michigan. Yet Michiganders are not aware of Iraqis’ vast contributions to today’s society because for decades the media has focused on Saddam, Terrorism and Islam.

Mesopotamia, ancient Iraq, is where writing, literature, math, medicine, astronomy, engineering, art and science were invented. The first school, law & order, democracy, parliament, separation of church and state, map of the world and the idea of dividing time and space into a multiple of 60’s started in this historic land. Father Abraham, who was instructed by God to immigrate to the “promised land” Gn. 15:7, is also a Mesopotamian from UR of the Chaldeans in Babylonia.

Today, Mesopotamia, the Biblical Garden of Eden, is a flat desert – thanks to inflation, overuse of agricultural land, and invasions. The past is a warning of how our current civilization could destroy the environment of the future. How can we prevent further catastrophe? By viewing the East’s vision as a counterpoint to that of the West.

Artists, through the universal language of art, have an important role to play in our future. Artists help bring about further awareness of their culture and encourage a better understanding among people from all around the world, paving the way for tolerance and peace.

For artists, however, to use their utmost creativity, they need a home and a community that encourages their freedom of expression and provides them with support. Madonna University is doing just that by hosting, in mid January, the first Iraqi Cultural Week in Michigan, designed to familiarize the community with the Iraqi artists who are active in various fields as visual artists, composers and writers. This effort is to help people recognize Iraq’s roots and build a better future.

The Iraqi Artists Association (IAA), a non-profit organization, in collaboration with Mesopotamia Art Gallery and with the generous support of Madonna University, seeks to broaden an appreciation for Iraq’s rich history and culture, and thus, foster understanding between the East and the West. With so many social, political and religious issues regarding Iraq and Iraqis happening on a daily basis, it has become absolutely essential to be a part of an organization that addresses a neglected though highly compelling part of that world – art.

Iraqi Artists Association / P.R.D