Afif Ramadi is an amateur historian with a passion for digging into the secret stories of the past.
In his view, learning about the lives of our ancestors enriches our ability to appreciate the present and to plan for the future. Afif is particularly fascinated by the history of the Iraqi city with which he shares his name: Ramadi.
Ramadi, Iraq is a city west of Baghdad and Fallujah. Due to its close proximity to other nations, this Iraqi city has suffered militant turmoil for generations. However, Afif is a member of a community of historians who are passionate about reshaping the future of Ramadi’s history. In their view, the city deserves to be both preserved and celebrated, despite the heavy damage that the area has sustained due to war and negative forces.
Despite the turmoil and devastation that has run rampant in Ramadi streets, the city’s land is beautifully fertile. In 1836, British explorer, Francis Rawdon Chesney passed through the city’s nearby waters on a steamboat. In his traveler’s journal he noted that Ramadi was a “pretty little town,” flourishing in the majestic hues of plant life. Though the area relaxed against a quaint background, it would soon be home to interesting innovation.
Less than a century later, in 1892, the city embraced the very beginning of its urbanization. The fertile lands began to flourish in an entirely new way, hosting modern conveniences the likes of a telegraph office. The Ramadi people, however, held true to their roots, caring for their fertile land with traditional approaches. In 1922, British soldier and scholar, Sir John Bagot Glubb described the land’s people as “cultivators along … the Euphrates.” Catering to traditional techniques, the city’s people balanced modernity with what was familiar to them, enjoying the innovation of the telegraph office while continuing to water their wheat, barley and other plants with water lifts powered by horses. Despite the rapidly changing culture surrounding them, the people of Ramadi embraced their longstanding techniques. Generations later, this resilience remains solid and strong. Afif Ramadi is deeply inspired by the residents’ dedication to staying true and holding onto their customs. Despite all that has occurred around them, the residents find freedom in the cyclical and therapeutic processes of traditional farming, a way of life that fascinates Afif himself.