0:00 ~ 0:24
Mount Ararat, biblical resting-place of Noah’s Ark,
rises above the elevated pastoral lands of eastern Turkey.
Little has changed here over the ages as herdsmen still
drift with the seasons, tending to the needs of their flocks.
0:24 ~ 1:38
It is here in this mountainous region of timeless existence
where the Euphrates, the longest river in southwestern Asia,
begins its deliberate journey southward. Since the beginning
of civilization, the Euphrates has been a crucial source
of life-giving water to the inhabitants of this turbulent
area of the Middle East.
1:38 ~ 2:08
Further downstream lies the ancient region of Mesopotamia.
The world’s earliest civilization began its development
here in the lush fertile plain created by the floodwaters
of the Euphrates and its northern counterpart, the Tigris
River. The rich farmland provided by these rivers supported
the establishment of communities here as early as 5000 B.C.
2:08 ~ 3:07
At present in southeastern Turkey the Anatolia Project has
a foothold on the waters of the Euphrates: a magnificent
dam, named after a great leader of the past, Mustafa Kemal,
or Ataturk, "Father of the Turks." Not far from here
on the Harran Plain, legend has it that Abraham himself
was the first to cultivate this land. Yet to the people
of Syria and Iraq, who dwell below the confines of this
modern day structural siphon, this project is seen as a
threat to their future agricultural livelihood.
3:07 ~ 3:36
Indeed, an uninterrupted flow of precious Euphrates water
played a vital role in the development of Cuneiform, the
world’s first system of writing. The Sumerian civilization,
which developed in what is now southeastern Iraq, built
great cities with majestic temples and palaces around a
highly advanced system of irrigational agriculture. The
assurance of a plentiful food supply allowed the Sumerians
to focus on more intellectual endeavors such as the creation
of a written language.
The abundance of resources provided by the Euphrates river
allowed ancient cultures, such as Sumer, to thrive and grow
in wealth. Yet the prosperity of this region has led to
continual invasion by neighboring peoples and an upheaval
of power by one culture after another. Over the ages the
Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Arabs,
Mongols, and Ottoman Turks have all shared in the affluence
of this fertile landscape.
4:35 ~ 5:05
Today, the nations of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey all face the
urgency of securing a constant supply of Euphrates water
within their respective borders. The instability of this
oil-rich region of the world is further clouded by the well-known
possibility that the next war in the Middle East may be
fought over water, not politics.
5:05 ~ End
Still the waters of this great river continue to run. From
its humble beginnings in a desolate mountainous region of
Turkey to its ultimate end in the tumultuous Persian Gulf,
the Euphrates will always remain a life-giving source to
those people who reside within its enduring path.