Iraq’s Maritime Heritage Finds a Haven in the Classroom. By Kira Walker

Rashad Salim’s efforts to discover and preserve knowledge of ancient boatbuilding crafts played a key role in the resurgence of interest in Iraq’s maritime heritage. Above, Salim with a pair of shasha reed bundle boats (Photo: © Rashad Salim).   When he first glided through the Euphrates as a child in his grandfather’s “tarada,” a traditional Mesopotamian boat, J

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The Pope-Sistani riddle: Francis and Sistani delivered anti-war, anti-genocide and anti-sectarian messages beyond the comprehension of most Western media. By PEPE ESCOBAR

Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, at his home in the holy city of Najaf, receives Pope Francis on March 6, 2021. Photo: AFP/Ayatollah Sistani's Media Office By any historical measure, it was a game-changer: the first meeting since the 7th century between a Roman Catholic Pope and a Shiite spiritual leader regarded as a “source of emulation.” I

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Pope Francis meets Grand Ayatollah Sistani on historic Iraq tour

Pope Francis with Iraq’s top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Photograph: Reuters Pope Francis has had a symbolic meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, one of the most senior clerics in Shia Islam, in Iraq’s holy city of Najaf. The historic meeting in Sistani’s home was months in the making, with every detail painstakingly discussed and negotiated b

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