Iraqis get glimpse of golden era in new exhibit
BAGHDAD - Agence France-Presse
Items from 87 years ago are on display at the newly opened exhibit in Iraq.Iraqis wistful for a golden age in politics, often labeled divided and cynical now, have been able to harken back to such a time through an exhibition on their inaugural parliament 87 years ago.
During the exhibition at the modern Council of Representatives building in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, visitors strolled past historical documents, newspapers, books and photographs.
At the time of the National Assembly’s opening on Dec 28, 1925, it was only the second such parliament in the Middle East, after Egypt. “We started collecting documents and photos three months ago and we went back to the Iraqi Documents Unit and the governorate of Baghdad to look up everything from this time period,” said Firas al-Jaberi, head of the parliamentary library.
This week’s exhibit focused on the opening session and the climate at the time, but also included documents and items from later years.
Among them were two photographs of the first session, the only two pictures in the entire exhibition, which organizers attributed to losses suffered due to periodic fires and the near-constant conflicts that have plagued Iraq for upwards of 30 years.
They also said they attempted to obtain documents via the British embassy in Baghdad but were unsuccessful.
Iraq only gained full independence from Britain in 1932, though the former colonial power still exercised major influence in the country in subsequent years.