10 October 2005

Genghis Khan in Manly

Baghdad was invaded in 1258 by the Mongolian army under Hulegu, a grandson of Genghis Khan. They plundered the “mother of all cities” for its accumulated wealth above the ground and took it back to Mongolia. (They didn't know about the oil.)
To break down the walls of Baghdad they needed large objects to throw against them. The centuries-old date palms, which produced abundant fruit, were all cut down and catapulted into the city. Soon it was occupied and plundered of its wealth. Much of it was burnt down. (source: Jack Weatherford)
The Mongols were nomadic plunderers. They did not respect the ancient fruit trees. Nor did they understand plant cultivation. The intention was to take the goods and move on, not to stay in their conquered lands.
The mentality of Genghis Khan is becoming dominant around here. Land is cleared of its plant wealth for short term gain. Buildings are bulldozed to make way for quickly-erected bunkers. Gardens are disappearing under concrete. National parks are burnt to ensure profits. Views are cut through bushland to increase property values.
When the job is done and the profits have been taken, it's time to leave the scorched earth and head up the coast for a “sea change”. The process starts again in new-found land.

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