What Once Was a Diamond


Lisa Peacock

One of the astounding minarets rises from the Blue Mosque, located in Istanbul, Turkey. These works of architecture show the remnants of the beauty and innovation of the Islamic nation.

Bim Peacock, Staff Writer

Before the days when religion ruled mankind, before the days when it would even bother to kill for such a petty thing, a proud civilization rose from the sands of the east that would witness the world rise and fall.  From the Tigris and Euphrates, the city-states of Sumeria were born, farming and fighting for life, establishing a future of sprawling trade, and above all, building the monuments and thought patterns that would shape humanity for eternity.  Oh, they rose and fell, were challenged and replaced by the lavish Babylonians, the merciless Assyrians, and later, the disciplined Persians, but throughout all of history, Mesopotamia stood as the center of the world, through trade and through power.  Even as the glory days fell to the Romans, the reborn Silk Roads only served to vitalize the culture constantly flowing through the Middle East.  The desert lands were never a barren place of any part of history.

I have but one question to my Middle Eastern cousins: what happened?  The deserts were a place every rich man and trader longed to reach, or where the penitent and holy found their salvation.  Now, the very mention of sand sparks the remembrance of torment to men and women and burning of buildings and bodies alike.  The diamond pressed into existence by the empires of magnificence has degraded into a lump of chaos and human anguish.

It’s not religion that caused this disgrace; far from it in fact.  Too many people of our society jump to the conclusion that the Islamic belief has caused the terrorism and hate wars the Middle East faces today, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  After all, it was under this same tenet that one of the greatest empires of all came to life, built off not hate and war, but science and culture.  It was these same people that had to shoo off the pesky barbarian crusaders that are revered as “holy heroes” in our day and age.  And it was none other than these people who, through their sciences, through their arts of intellect unhindered by religion like that of Europe, brought new thought to their western world.  It was their thought that showed the chaotic peoples of Europe that there was more to life than whimpering beneath the fury of a god, and thus, brought a light to the dark ages of Europe.

It was never Islam’s purpose to destroy the people of western belief; they were the ones who carried it after its birth.  They were the ones who dug up the remnants of Roman culture and kept it alive, and it was because of them that intellectual thought flourished so magnificently in our world.  So never look to the east in scorn for a society fallen into barbarity; never imagine they’re worth nothing more than a missile to put them out of their misery.  It was they who established the foundation for all of humanity, they who ruled the riches of the ancient world.  Above all, it was they who brought our own society out of its darkest years and gave it the ideas that brought us here today.  Who knows?  Maybe when our own society falls, it will be the desert’s turn for its own Renaissance, and one can only imagine a future like that.