Reading Raymond Ibrahim’s excellent November 2nd article, “How Historic Revisionism Justifies Islamic Terrorism,” I was led to follow one of his links to how Hollywood contributes to that revisionism and disinformation. There I discovered James Burke’s May 2005 article on the Free Republic site, “Kingdom of Heaven: Propaganda or History?” The Burke article examines the revisionist depiction of the struggle for Jerusalem between the Crusaders and Saladin’s Moslem armies in Ridley Scott’s 2005 epic, “Kingdom of Heaven.” That in turn led me to thinking about the filmography of the star director and producer.
Ibrahim wrote in his Historic Revision article:
How important, really, is history to current affairs? Do events from the 7th century-or, more importantly, how we understand them-have any influence on U.S. foreign policy today?
By way of answer, consider some parallels between academia’s portrayal of historic Islamic jihads and the U.S. government’s and media’s portrayal of contemporary Islamic jihads.
While any objective appraisal of the 7th century Muslim conquests proves that they were just that-conquests, with all the bloodshed and rapine that that entails-the historical revisionism of modern academia, especially within Arab and Islamic studies departments, has led to some portrayals of the original Muslim conquerors as “freedom-fighters” trying to “liberate” the Mideast from tyrants and autocrats. (Beginning to sound familiar?)
Hollywood and Ridley Scott have lent a helping hand in that revisionist project. Burke’s article thoroughly dissects “Kingdom of Heaven,” not only for its historical inaccuracies, but for its bias against Western civilization and for Islam, in which the Crusaders are depicted as a bunch of posturing, spiritually lost, bungling boobs and Saladin and his hordes are depicted as nice, honorable guys who just happened to be roaming the deserts armed to the teeth in the 12th century, and Saladin as a leader not really interested in cementing his growing Islamic empire by retaking Jerusalem.