The Nonaligned Babel

In the center of Baghdad is a high-rise hotel, resembling a modernist version of the towers of ancient Babylon. Its transnational history reveals a different Tower of Babel altogether.

(Anwar Fakher / NBC NewsWire)

As an architectural historian, everything I know about Iraq is embodied in a single building: the hotel currently known as Babylon Rotana in Baghdad. An entire universe of global contacts and pathways flourished under the Cold War banner of nonalignment within its walls. The broad geopolitical realignments of recent times, including the two Gulf Wars, […]

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