A Brief History of the Levant
A friend showed me something interesting yesterday. A cartoonist, Nina Paley, has created an animated film to accompany the song “This Land is Mine” from the 1960 film Exodus, showing a brief history of the inhabitants of a certain region. It does not take sides in the modern conflict, rather choosing simply to portray (satirically) the long history of violence the region has suffered.
I quite like it. As far as the sequence of events go, it’s fairly accurate (although she neglects to include the Achaemenid Persian Empire between Babylon and Alexander, and the Greeks/Macedonians really ought to be using spears). I’m particularly enamoured by the utter lack of subtlety with which she approaches the issue. It’s refreshingly direct; one of the commenters on her site compared it, not inaccurately, with the way modern-day South Park engages with social and political issues. Rather than looking at who has a right to what and which side sparked the most recent round of fighting, it shows caricatures of every state and people to have laid claim to the land over the past 5,00o+ years, each one killing the previous and picking up singing the song where their predecessor left off without missing a note. The climax reveals the only true victor of the millennia of bloodshed – Death. It’s potent stuff, stripping away the politics to lay bare the reality: People are dying for this. They’ve died for it long ago and they’re likely going to keep dying for it in the future, each one convinced that they are in the right. It’s sobering to think about.
The video itself can be found here, complete with all its cartoon violence. I realize some people have very strong feelings regarding that region, but please, no political rants in the comments. Again, the video is not taking one side or another, and neither am I.
In other news, I have a twitter! It’s probably going to be fantastically underused. I’m no good with all this social media business. And yes, the Alexander series is still coming. He’ll be here soon, honest.