The Way Baghdad Was

Even before the United States set its sights on Baghdad, people began to note its decline. Long considered to be the intellectual capital of the Islamic world, in the early 1900s the Iraqi city had already begun its transformation into a “once was”.

Centuries of Ottoman rule and over a decade of British occupation allowed sectarian divides to fester, and would only culminate following the country’s 1932 independence and exploitation of oil. Around a century later, the formerly sophisticated center of Mesopotamia is embroiled ceaseless conflict, war and strife. Looking back to its days of normalcy makes present-day Baghdad all the more haunting. These 1932 photos courtesy of Foreign Policy show a Baghdad before the turmoil of the past half century.

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Baghdad Streets

Pedestrians walk along the streets near the Midan mosque.

Baghdad Shoe Sellers Market

Shoe sellers in Baghdad's famous bazaars.

Baghdad Donkeys Markets

Workers load and unload goods from the river. Though Faisal attempted to change the nature of Iraq's economy early on, it still primarily consisted of agricultural goods.

Baghdad Old Man Mosque

An elderly man speaks to a boy at the Haidar Khana mosque. It has since been damaged by bombings (2007) in a Shiite-dense part of the city.

Baghdad Iraq Museum

Before being looted in the early 2000s, the Iraq Museum was home to some of the most incredible archaeological findings from the region .

Baghdad Pedestrians Tigris

Pedestrians cross the Tigris River. Once a primary contributor to the Fertile Crescent, today the river is entrenched in pollution.

Baghdad Street Barber

A street barber performing his artistry.

Baghdad Watermelons Tigris River

Boys sitting at the banks of the Tigris, in boats filled with watermelon. Watermelons grown in this region can grow up to 50 pounds and serve as a hydration resource for those afraid of drinking unclean water.

Baghdad English Presence

Iraqi army officers upon being inducted into the League of Nations.

Baghdad Tea Sellers

Tea merchants smile while on the job in Ur.

Baghdad Jews Iraq

Rabbis stand before the tomb of Ezekiel. In the early 1930s, Iraq featured one of the oldest Jewish populations in the world. But with Israel's creation in 1948, many Jews were pressured to leave. Today, there is virtually no Jewish population at all within Baghdad's walls.

Baghdad Basket Boys

Boys carrying baskets of unwanted sand from a highway. The sand in Baghdad is not ideal for construction.

Baghdad Kadah Bridge

Men walk near the Katah Bridge.

Baghdad Tigris Gathering

People crowding at the banks of the Tigris River, with Baghdad's walls looming in the distance.

Baghdad Quallaa Citadel

Outside the Turkish citadel, Qualla'a. The Ottomans conquered Baghdad in 1534 and occupied it until 1921.

Baghdad College Medicine

Women walking by the Royal College of Medicine, which still exists today as part of the University of Baghdad.

Baghdad Copper Workers

Works hammer out copper using traditional methods.

Baghdad Fires

A man stands amid the fires caused by natural gas explosions near the Iraq Petroleum Company.

Baghdad Gufa Boys

Men stand by a gufa on the banks of the Tigris. These boats are made from reed and asphalt, and can transport up to 20 people.

Baghdad 1932

The Baghdad cityscape in 1932.

Baghdad Fez

Men wear fezzes while walking about the streets of Baghdad.

Baghdad King Faisal

King Faisal I (left) sits next to his brother during a lawn party at the Royal Palace of Baghdad. Many Iraqis mistrusted Faisal, as they thought he was too deferential to the British and suppressed non-Sunni populations.

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An Animated Crash Course Of The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

We don’t want to get too political here, or for you all to think that we’re treating violent conflict with levity, but this is a great, topical intro to present-day conflicts in the Middle East. For more supplementary information on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and answers to the questions you were too afraid to ask, we suggest you check out this Vox article. Keep in mind that this is not a stopping point, but rather a jumping off point for further inquiry.

Life In Everyday Space Will Stun You

We think of astronauts as leading very dangerous and exciting lives when they are out there in space, pushing the boundaries of human exploration ever forward. And, of course, all of that is true, but life in space (specifically, aboard the International Space Station) also offers a lot of downtime. When they are not working, astronauts still need to live their lives, which are actually a lot closer to ours than you might think. Most of the everyday things you and I do at home, they also do them aboard the ISS. However, the lack of gravity surely adds a layer of difficulty to even the simplest of tasks.

Everyday Space ISS

At $150 billion, the ISS is the most expensive thing we’ve ever built. Source: AMS02

Let’s say you’re an astronaut and you just woke up. You would probably want to go through your morning routine, which might include trivial stuff such as brushing your teeth or washing your hair. Here’s where lack of access to running water makes things a bit tricky. Since you are living in a place with billions of dollars worth of electronics, water floating around is probably not a good idea. Therefore, you don’t get the benefits of a running tap or shower.

Astronaut brushing his teeth

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40 Bruce Lee Quotes That Will Change Your Life

A famed martial artist, action-film actor, and seemingly immortal cultural icon, Bruce Lee is remembered as much for his words of wisdom as he is for his lightning fast kicks. Today, we look at some of the most inspirational and introspective Bruce Lee quotes:

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