Could an ancient scroll discovered in a vault beneath Baghdad’s Azzohour Palace provide the answer to Iraq’s current crisis? The scroll—pre-dating Hammurabi’s Code by more than 7000 years—details the life of a shepherd who became the founder of a country that existed and thrived in... read more
Could an ancient scroll discovered in a vault beneath Baghdad’s Azzohour Palace provide the answer to Iraq’s current crisis? The scroll—pre-dating Hammurabi’s Code by more than 7000 years—details the life of a shepherd who became the founder of a country that existed and thrived in... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Could an ancient scroll discovered in a vault beneath Baghdad’s Azzohour Palace provide the answer to Iraq’s current crisis? The scroll—pre-dating Hammurabi’s Code by more than 7000 years—details the life of a shepherd who became the founder of a country that existed and thrived in pre-history. Shortly after the first Gulf War, an ancient, gold-paneled tomb is discovered in Baghdad. Dr. Elman Darshi, the world’s leading Sumerian language authority, is called upon by Saddam Hussein's minister of cultural affairs to translate the find. Dr. Darshi discovers the key to the language and translates the ancient poem called “The Song of Ayuba”. Warned of Saddam’s paranoia, the professor smuggles his translation to his daughter Alexandria, a doctoral student at University of California, Berkeley. Shortly after completing the translation, Dr. Darshi, his wife, and youngest daughter disappear. When Iraq is liberated, the secret tomb is rediscovered by U.S. Marines; however, no one can read the esoteric calligraphy. Alexandria sees a television interview with Dr. Ibrahim Feroz, a young Associate Professor of at the University of Chicago. The two meet and she reveals her knowledge of the mysterious language. The University of Chicago, the National Geographic Society, and the Museum of Ancient History in Baghdad enter an academic partnership to publicly reveal the oldest writing ever known. In honor of her father, “The Song of Ayuba” is read by Alexandria during an international television event. The poem’s message is a positive revelation to many in the Middle East… and a threat to others. Due to frequent assaults on the tomb’s location in Baghdad’s Green Zone, the gold panels are relocated. Behind one of the panels is an ancient urn containing an intact scroll… the autobiography of a shepherd named Ayuba. Alexandria and Bryan (Dr. Feroz) work together to translate and bring the message of the scroll to the public in two National Geographic Society specials. The first program follows the early life of the shepherd who, orphaned at age twelve, finds himself alone in a vast wasteland. For two years he wanders in search of food and water and is eventually captured and enslaved by a band of reed gatherers. Ayuba is rescued and adopted by Aroon al Sumer whose family introduces him to an advanced culture where he learns to read and write. Through a series of adventures, his adopted father teaches him to use the power of vision to control fear and create his destiny. Honored for his role in the Battle of Gleb Spring, Ayuba is summoned to the capital city of Hamleed. His trip from the barren desert of his birth to the sophisticated capital is filled with real and metaphorical adventures. Throughout his journey, the camel that nourished him while in captivity accompanies him. Indeed, the great beast becomes integral to the story as a lifelong companion. During his year-long visit to Hamleed, it is discovered that Ayuba fulfills an ancient prophecy. Now honored as the “Shepherd of Hamood”, Ayuba wanders throughout the land as a revered warrior and storyteller. After the airing of the first scroll documentary, the people of Iraq develop a positive response to Ayuba’s message and the story is embraced around the world. From Japan to America it becomes the focus of discussion. Radical imams begin to fear this positive voice from the past, calling its author “AyuBush” claiming the story is a CIA hoax. The second half of the scroll story begins in a trading village where Ayuba meets a horribly disfigured metal worker named Rantel al Darem. On his deathbed, the battered old man tells of his escape from the mines of Effrifria where he and hundreds of others were enslaved. Based on a pledge to the dying man, Ayuba enters Bynethia and through a series of ruses rescues the slaves. The rescue effort unifies the tribes and Bynethia becomes a “modern” country. A new capital city is built and named Ayubia. When his lifelong companion dies, Ayuba tans the camel’s skin and writes his autobiography using the hide as parchment. It is his intention to end his story with the death of the great beast; however, fate intervenes in the form of a message written in ancient runes… a summons by the Great Guide. They meet on the island of Gleer where it is revealed that a devastating cataclysm will soon occur. The Guide explains that his race is building three stone mountains guarded by a crouching lion which they hope will survive the coming inundation. He encourages Ayuba to find the “Song” in his life and save it for any surviving civilization. The insurgents become alarmed by the coordinated peaceful response to the message of the scroll, especially after thousands of children take to the street bearing a powerful symbol from the scroll—the mark of al Darem. A radical Imam in Chicago sets out to murder Alexandria who, in his view, has prostituted herself to the west. He converts an orphan into an al Qaeda operative, convincing him to martyr himself in the name of Allah. A week later, the attempt to kill Alexandria is foiled. The final scene takes place in Baghdad in the square where Saddam’s statue once stood. The square is filled with women and children and a huge poster is unfurled. You will need to read the book to learn what the banner says.
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