Iraq's Transport Minister Kazem Finjan has claimed that ancient Sumerians in Iraq invented space travel.He specifically cited Kramer's History Begins at Sumer, a familiar popular introduction. Apparently the copy on my shelf is a different edition from the Minister's, since it doesn't mention airports or space travel, and uses the standard dating in which Sumer rose around 3000 years BC, or 5,000 years ago, not 7000. (Did he confuse 5000 Before the Present with 5000 BC?) True, he mentions the Sumerians as pioneers in astronomy, but with no mention of Pluto (which used to be the ninth planet, not the twelfth, until it was demoted). And it was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, long before NASA existed. I think the Minister may have confused Kramer with something he saw on Ancient Aliens.
Finjan made the outlandish claim during a press conference in the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar.
In a speech, he said that the ancient civilisation had built the world's first airport in the area around 5,000 BC.
Finjan went on to claim that the airport had served as a hub for space exploration, and that the Sumerians discovered Pluto falsely claiming it to be the solar system's "twelfth planet" and discovered by NASA.
In front of a beleaguered audience Finjan sought to back up his claims asking sceptics to study the works of Sumerian experts such as Russian professor Samuel Kramer.
Or perhaps he's made the biggest discovery by an Arab official since the Egyptian Army discovered a cure for both AIDS and hepatitis C without blood tests. I wonder how that worked out.