Monday, May 30, 2005

America - Re-writing History for Muslims

Thomas F. Madden notes Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, re-writes history for Muslims.

But I am not a film critic; I am a historian. As a historian it naturally irritates me that there are people who will leave theaters certain that Scott and his writer, William Monahan, have served up something that approximates reality in the Middle Ages. They haven’t. In fact, there is very little that is medieval about The Kingdom of Heaven. It is instead a mixture of 19th-century Romanticism and modern Hollywood wishful-thinking. The real Crusades began in 1095 as a response to centuries of Muslim conquests of Christian lands. Their purpose was to restore those territories, including the Holy Land, to Christian control. The Kingdom of Jerusalem, which was established by the First Crusade in 1099, was an outpost of European Christians planted in a largely Muslim world for the purpose of safeguarding the holy sites. Subsequent major Crusades were called in response to subsequent Muslim conquests.

He ends with this:

Ridley Scott has repeatedly said that this movie is “not a documentary” but a “story based on history.” The problem is that the story is poor and the history is worse. Based on media interviews, Scott, Monahan, and the leading actors clearly believe that their story can help bring peace to the world today. Lasting peace, though, would be better served by candidly facing the truths of our shared past, however politically incorrect those might be.

Yes it would.

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