May 29, 2003 11:42 PM   Subscribe

Satellite pictures of the Mesopotamian marshlands, published by the United Nations Environment Programme, show that the wetlands are beginning to return to life. [Via Best of the Web.]
posted by homunculus (7 comments total)
Good news about Iraq? Are you sure this is MetaFilter?
posted by Pollomacho at 7:20 AM on May 30, 2003

Neat. This sounds a little like the Viridian movement idea of an "involuntary park":

A Viridian "involuntary park" is an area of the planet where wildlife returns due to the breakdown of civilization. Prime examples include Chernobyl, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the Cyprus Green Line, and a wide variety of artillery ranges, weapons- testing areas and toxic dumps around the world.

Though here the "breakdown of civilization" is hopefully temporary, and the return of the natural order is being helped along by people.
posted by eyebeam at 7:21 AM on May 30, 2003

No mention of the fact that the drying out of the marshland was ordered by Saddam in the first place, to oppress the "Marsh Arabs" who live there.
(This is not to say the Marsh Arabs are nice folk. In fact, even as far back as WWII, about everybody who ever met them hated them. There were even temporary truces, when both sides would turn their guns on the Marsh Arabs who were looting bodies and cutting the throats of the wounded.)
posted by kablam at 7:27 AM on May 30, 2003

Speaking of involuntary parks, the "Area B" part of Fort Detrick, Maryland that spawned a thread the other day sounds like it qualifies, too.
posted by eyebeam at 7:29 AM on May 30, 2003

Wow, that's great news, homunculus, thanks! One of the many upsetting aspects of the last decade has been the destruction of the wetlands environment and the way of life of the Marsh Arabs. Speaking of whom, pay no attention to kablam's bullshit. (Try it with "This is not to say the Jews are nice folk...") The Marsh Arabs are no better or worse than any other people, and they have a right to exist without being the object of genocide on the part of rulers or slander on the part of idiot foreigners. If anyone's interested, the classic book is The Marsh Arabs, by Wilfrid Thesiger, who was no saint himself but a good writer. He described the Marsh Arabs as "arrogant, individualistic and intensely proud" and said "they never willingly accepted any man as their master and would rather die than be shamed."
posted by languagehat at 7:47 AM on May 30, 2003

Thanks for those links, languagehat.

Good news about Iraq? Are you sure this is MetaFilter?

Second time this week! I hope I don't get kicked out of the Lefty MeFi Cabal for this. Hopefuly my posts on WarFilter should excuse my recent behavior here.
posted by homunculus at 1:38 PM on May 30, 2003

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