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In April 2014, the 20th-century film house British Pathé digitized more than 80,000 of its films and put them on YouTube.

“Ageless Iraq” is one of them, shot in the 1950s to introduce “a new country” to the world, “one that hasn’t forgotten the glories of its history.”

Since this movie was made, Iraq has been the site of repeated conflict and atrocities — chemical warfare, sectarian violence, a US-led invasion, and now ISIS’ blitz across the country. Many observers wonder whether Iraq will even be able to survive as a single, coherent political unit.

Despite the movie’s aged Orientalist tone, it is still a jarring reminder that nothing in history is inevitable and that there was a time when even one of the world’s most problematic countries seemed like it was on a promising trajectory. 

You can watch the entire film here and here.

An earlier version of this article was written by Pierre Bienaimé and Armin Rosen.

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“Ageless Iraq is no longer a remote, isolated country,” the narrator says. “Today she is a main junction linking the east and west” — as these European tourists are meant to prove.

“Ageless Iraq” emphasizes the country’s budding modernity, which is presented as a straightforward boon imported from a more advanced western world.

A disciplined police force is credited with keeping Baghdad running safely …

See the rest of the story at Business Insider


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