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Dubai Abulhoul: Ink runs in our veins
February 27, 2016
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I think that the ink of the Tigris River kept flowing long after that. The very ink of the Tigris River runs in our veins; all we have to do is pick up our pens, and start writing. 
 
In the 8th century, Caliph Harun Al Rashid founded Bayt Al Hikma, a library and a cultural hub that later on became one of the most important pillars of the Islamic Golden Age. Bayt Al Hikma was a meeting point for poets, authors, scholars, and intellectuals from all over the empire for the purposes of writing, translation, documentation, discourse, and discussion. Unfortunately, Bayt Al Hikma was destroyed in 1258, during the invasion of the Mogols under the rule of Hulegn, the grandson of Genghis Khan. The first atrocious act committed by the Mogols upon their invasion of the land was the disposal of all the preserved books and manuscripts of the library into the Tigris River.

What was it about the power of the written word, and the significance of original content, that was so intimidating to the Mogols, that they had to destroy the writings of their enemy first, before the enemy himself? How powerful is the act of writing, and what is its role in the building of nations and empires?

 As we entered 2016 and welcomed the Year of Reading, the importance of reading was highlighted throughout different sectors of our society. The next step is to promote the importance of writing. What we write will become what we read, as both reading our own content, and writing it, go hand in hand. Growing up, we have been a part of the adventures we read about in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. I am in no way trying to draw a comparison between Western and Middle Eastern Literature. What I am arguing for is an increase of efforts in promoting the importance of writing in our society, especially when it comes to writing modern stories, with relatable characters and more appealing narratives to the younger generation. It is important to create a generation of readers, but it is also equally important to have them write their own stories and narratives as well. Writing workshops in schools, across all educational levels, as well as the forming of new institutions dedicated to this cause are just some of the examples in which writing can be promoted and encouraged.

Historians have stated that due to the large amount of manuscripts and books that the Mogols disposed of in the river, the Tigris was diluted with ink, and a deep black hue floated over its water for days. However, I think that the ink of the Tigris River kept flowing long after that. The very ink of the Tigris River runs in our veins; all we have to do is pick up our pens, and start writing.
 
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The author is an Emirati novelist-writer
 

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