The ruins of Babylon are still there …

… although damaged by Saddam Hussein’s reconstructions and by an American-build helicopter pad. The BBC has a report from the site, with a brief video and pictures. It seems there is plenty of the ancient city still in place, mostly unexcavated. Nebuchadnezzar’s palace can be seen alongside Saddam’s. There is work there for generations of archaeologists in uncovering a city which was already ancient in the time of the biblical Nebuchadnezzar.

See also this audio slideshow which is a trailer for an exhibition ‘Babylon: Myth and Reality’ at the British Museum in London, from now until March 2009. I’m not sure how many of the original tiles of the Ishtar Gate, now rebuilt by Saddam, are in London. But when I saw some of them in their regular museum home in Istanbul, I was stunned by their beauty and magnificence.

Right through the Bible Babylon (or Babel) is a symbol of evil, megalomania, and resistance to God. Saddam Hussein was perhaps consciously continuing this tradition. But in the New Testament Babylon is not just the physical city which was already in ruins. The lament over Babylon in Revelation 18 seems to be less for the city and more for the system of world trade which it symbolised. That system is now also in ruins, it seems – perhaps it will recover in part, but the time will surely come when God will put a final end to it.

0 thoughts on “The ruins of Babylon are still there …

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  4. what is written here is bullshit, I am iraqi and I lived there….who gave this writer the right to put such rubish about things he had never visited or seen or even read about. He must have some concious he is writing for poeple like him never knew about the place or Saddam Hussien or the bloody evil Americans and Zionists who have the evil dream of occupying the land that has Babylon in it.

  5. One more thing …why do you think that the stupid Saddam had ruined it? why don’t you mention for the readers what american troops did there? and the reason behind it..start giving the truth instead of telling poeple lies. Ask the native poeple of iraq and write solid truth instead. Try for once to take out the heavy curtain of false things you believe in and write

  6. H.A., the BBC’s Andrew North whose report I linked to HAS visited the site and HAS seen its current state. He describes in some detail, and I also refer to, the damage done to it by American troops. If you search this blog for “Iraq” you will see what I think about the American invasion and subsequent occupation, including this:

    My own country, the UK, is almost as much deserving of God’s judgment as the USA, for its complicity in Iraq and elsewhere.

    Also this:

    Let’s look at the facts behind this story, and see if they support Colson’s basic contention that Americans care for human life but Iraqis don’t. Who started the war in Iraq and set off the cycle of killing? The US government, with some shameful help from our own UK government and some others. Who caused the injuries to these people? American forces in a helicopter. Were these people really planting a bomb? Maybe, but we probably only have the word of the helicopter crew for that. The Americans caused the injuries, so they can hardly be congratulated for doing their duty of treating them.

    Yes, bombs are being planted in Iraq, because the people of Iraq have a right and duty to defend their country from the aggressor forces which have invaded it, and not surprisingly many of them don’t accept the puppet government which the occupying forces have set up. The situation has degenerated into a civil war only because the invaders went in with no exit strategy beyond the incredibly naive assumption that they would be welcomed as liberators.

    As for the suggestion that this indicates a basic difference between Christianity and Islam, Colson needs to look at the log in his own eye first. The majority of Muslims worldwide are peace-loving and put a high value on human life. They would give their blood to save an injured American. But some, probably a small minority although one whose growth has been encouraged by the situation in Iraq, have been led astray into a kind of fundamentalism which puts a nationalistic cause above basic human morality. But precisely the same is true of Christianity. The majority of Christians also are peace-loving and put a high value on human life. But a small minority of those who call themselves Christians, including George W Bush and Tony Blair, seem to have abandoned Christian morality by treating Iraqi life as cheap and expendable, for advancing their political aims in their so-called “war on terror” which is in fact far more destructive than terrorism.

    So please find out what I believe in before accusing me of falsehood.

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