Right now, as Turkey prepares more attacks on Syria in response to Syria’s attacks on Turkey, the general situation in the Middle East seems frighteningly unstable. But is it any more unstable than when Assyrians and Egyptians battled for the region?
Suffice it to say, people have been fighting over this small area of land since the dawn of history, and this animated video from Nina Paley makes that clear--with a lot of cartoon gore on top of it. Nothing offers perspective on the issue like seeing Judah Maccabee smash in a Roman’s head with a giant hammer.
If your knowledge of the traditional costumes of Byzantines and Mamluks isn’t totally up to snuff, you can read exactly who is fighting who on Paley’s blog here. Certainly, we shouldn’t simply write off the prospect of peace just because of centuries of war, but it’s always important to remember that the conflicts of today have ethno-historical roots that are far deeper than they often seem.