This Land Is Mine (a dark history of the middle-east)

[Note: The opinions expressed here are the author’s own and are not necessarily shared by individuals, companies or municipalities with which he might be affiliated]

Recent events between the Israelis and Palestinians have further cemented my contention that expecting long-term stability and peace in that region is…well…delusional. When there is real estate that is deemed “Holy” and is central to the narratives of mutually exclusive holy books, yet sits within the boundaries of only one of those peoples, conflict is sure to follow. It does not matter what national boundaries may be; if different groups claim religious warrant to possess that patch of dirt, you will always have tension. That tension may ebb and flow, but it will invariably flare up into violence.

That violence…at leaAbraham Isaacst in the faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam…can be traced to the patriarch of them
all: Abraham. It was with the story of Abraham…being willing to slice the throat of his own son Isaac on God’s command…that glorified the idea that one call kill in the name of God. It doesn’t matter that an angel stopped Abe (to the dismay of the goat that got its throat slit in his stead). It doesn’t matter how some contemporary clergy put a less barbaric spin on the story. The story is there and will always be recognized by some segment of religious adherents as justification for violent action.

The real reason for this essay, though, is to showcase an absolutely fabulous video that came to my attention as I was researching some Middle East history. Before you watch the video, I need to provide a bit of history. There is a belief among some Christians that it is prophesied in the Bible that Jesus’ return must be preceded by [among other things] the return of the Jews to the “Holy Land”. This is known as “Christian Zionism”. The post-WWII creation of the state of Israel was seen as that prophecy coming to pass and animates a good many Christians (including lawmakers) in their boundless, uncritical support of Israel. Some Christian Zionists that you might know are Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson…and Pat Boone.

Pat Boone Young

Remember the very popular squeaky-clean singer Pat Boone of the 50’s and 60’s? [Remember his embarrassing and inexplicable “punk” phase? What the hell was his manager thinking?!] In 1960 he wrote a ditty called “The Exodus Song” (aka “This Land Is Mine”) that paid tribute to that premise of the Jews return to the holy land and their need to fight to defend it. In 1962, Andy Williams released the song. I’ll say here, that I greatly under-appreciated Mr. Williams singing chops. I only knew him from his scAndy Williamshmaltzy holiday specials. Mr. Williams provides the soundtrack for the video and he is AWESOME!

The video by animator Nina Paley juxtaposes this beautiful rendition of “This Land Is Mine” with a chronological history of all the conquering peoples of that region. It features fetching animation inspired by Assyrian art with an art deco aesthetic. I can only describe the combination of such a beautiful melody with the very dark reality that the lyrics glorify as some form of artistic perfection. The combination of nostalgia, striking visuals, history, singing talent, and dark implication creates a tableau of complexity that I might compare to Steely Dan. [and those that know me, understand that that is high praise indeed]

With that; enjoy 3-½ minutes of awesomeness below:

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

You can see a list of characters depicted in the video [HERE]


About Mike Bruno

I live in Geneva, Illinois and enjoy discussing contentious topics (what's the point otherwise?). I am very involved in my community and historic preservation. I write here as a way to explore my own positions. I am a computer engineer that has been in the business since floppy disks had a capacity of 720 KILObytes...and were actually floppy. I am something of a science evangelist. If you like (or really dislike) what you read here, say so...and point your friends here. Thanks! The opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect any persons or organizations with which I might be affiliated.
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One Response to This Land Is Mine (a dark history of the middle-east)

  1. I think there will be a lot less argument over holy land when people realize that real estate does not impart moral authority, although I suppose fulfillment of prophecy does imply moral authority.

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