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My Meeting with Ashur Panipal: Using a Time Machine to Explore our Past! ( Part 3)
By: Ashur Sada. Sep. 20th, 2005


We exit the library together. As we are leaving, something catches my attention. I see a cuneiform in Aramaic with a writing on, whose title read something like this: “The World in 3000 Years from now” I was shocked to see this, because that would be our time now. I asked the guards for permission to read it. First they asked me if I could read it, and I told them I could. Of course, it was significantly different from our writing today, but I was able to walk my way through it. It was nothing more than one big cuneiform, with 5 short paragraphs, each preceded by an approximate year and era. Most of these prediction-like pieces made little sense to me, but the last one really caught my attention. It went something like this:

“that day which shall come, where the people of this world will use and fight over a black substance, that looks like water, but will be even more important than it(water). Assyria as a land, will have plenty of this black gold, and nations from places we never heard of, will come on our land to extract, protect and sometimes exploit this precious commodity. It will be something on which our energy movement and functioning will depend…”

I was stunned to read this future prediction, which was of a biblical-proportion. Clearly, this was a reference to our world today and its dependency on oil as an energy source. The reference to “and nations from places we never heard of…” is a reference to various European and Western countries, that weren’t yet explored at the time. And finally, the reference to the availability of this commodity in Assyria is a reference to the oil-rich city of Kerkuk, which as we know today, sits on a lake of oil.

Unfortunately this future-predicting cuneiform had no author on it or date. I asked the librarians and other Assyrian authors who were at the library, and none were sure about where that piece came from, or who its author was. In fact, one of the historians there, responsible for keeping all records relating to the history of the Assyrian empire, said: “ seems like an author with a power from above is responsible for writing this, or it could be anyone, because we are not sure if these predictions will come true. After all, we are talking 3000 years from now!” Amazingly, this prediction was 100% true. If I only knew who the author was!

We now left the library, and it was already late at night. The moon was up and the sky was clear. On the river side, so many people were sitting and walking. Some were sailing in boats. Some were there to study and debate in scientific and philosophical topics. Others were there with their lovers, exchanging poems and love stories. It was such a scene, not even Shakespeare could describe! The girls looked not much different from Assyrian girls today, although their clothing was of a drastic difference. I was lucky enough because our entourage took us past these debaters, and lovers on the river side. I took my time to walk, as the guards were escorting me to a local “guest house” where I would stay for a few days before my meeting with his majesty, King Ashur.

As we passed by these debaters, students and lovers, I made sure I had my ears fully open. I wanted to listen to what they were saying and debating; not just hear them. The first couple we passed by, looked in their early 20s. They were both sitting on the edge of the river, with their feet hang above the water. They were looking at the moon straight, with their hands joined with one another. As we approached them, I could hear the male lover talking to his female lover:
Sharookena, Khoobeya qatakh besh khelanele men pourya daha sera…
Apparently, her name was Sharookena, a very common Assyrian name these days.
Sharookena replied to her lover:
Ninary, ate besh shapeerat men daha sera w men shimsha d’youma

Unfortunately, that is all I was able to hear from this extremely romantic and poetic setting between these two young Assyrian lovers. Next was a set of debaters, mostly males, who seemed to be in a very heated and passionate debate. Assyrians of then weren’t much different from today’s Assyrians when it came to talking and debating; they gave it all they could. Unfortunately, this time I had no idea what they were talking about. I was sure about one thing: they were talking about the wisdom of the God Assur. They were going into such complex topic about his divinity vs. his human side, his origins and other more complicated questions. It was more of a religious philosophy debate.  But one thing which I picked up from this heated debate, that really got my attention, was the following funny line:

-"Nashee, ate lyatheta chumendeya, anaha besh yathena menoukhena"
Which is a common Assyrian line these days, translated into: "man you don't know anything, I know more than you"
I couldn't believe how that line is still being used in our society today, 3000 years later!

Having walked for close to half an hour, we finally got to our destination: “The Guest House” or as the guards called it with their old Assyrian “Betota d’Arkhaye”  Apparently, this was more like a modern day hotel, but paid for by the empire authorities. This is where visitors from neighboring Persia, Mede, Babylon, and Akkadia and other places, came to stay. The residents of this guest house were mostly pilgrims, tourists, laborers and even politicians from other courtiers, here to pay tribute to his majesty and present him with gifts and admiration letters. By our modern standards today, this was like a 5-star Hilton hotel in Washington, Paris or Vegas where the most popular politicians and celebrities stay. As you can see, I had already had my money worth it!


Coming in part 4: I spend a few days at the "Guest House" and then finally get set to meet with his majesty the king. Prior to the meeting, I get very very nervous, and fall sick too. This was due to my emotions running away and the excitement that got to me; meeting Ashur Panipal is once in a 3,000 years opportunity and doesn't come everyday.  Something shocking happens as I am just minutes away from meeting his majesty. 




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