They gave us Math. The concept of Zero. They gave names to the stars and and the word "Algebra" is part and participle of their language.
The gave us music and dance, legends and stories. They were tolerant and fierce, kind and full of courage.
Over time, their gifts to us, which did so much to ease us, the West, into the sciences and opened the doors to an appreciation of Higher Learning, became what we considered our own. And maybe they did, in fact, belong to us.
But we were like children seated in a wagon at the top of the hill, and they were the elders that gave us that first shove. We've been on that ride ever since, long ago exceeding, with OUR civilization, what they gave us with THEIR civilization.
Now they have given us 9/11. Paris. Lebanon. Mumbai.
Fear and terror are the new legacy of a people whose culture is thousands of years old. Not all would wish it so. It is the young. The warriors. Where they rode desert horses to win their battles, scimitars flashing in the sun, now they wear masks and plant their bombs, shoot down innocents with their automatic weapons - weapons the result of the sciences they gave us.
Once they were remembered and respected for the knowledge they imparted to the West. That has been taken away and replaced by fear, hatred and mistrust.
There was a time ... when things were simpler.
I fear those times and those things, remembrance and respect, are gone forever.