The Shmooze

A Brief (And Violent) History of The Middle East

By Gabe Friedman

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Sometimes history is so absurd that it’s funny.

“This Land is Mine,” an animated short film about the history of Israel by cartoonist and animator Nina Paley, has resurfaced in the wake of the latest war in Gaza. The short displays all of the tribes, empires, and countries that have claimed the region at some point in history killing each other in chronological order. The result – set to an exaggerated, Frank Sinatra-style theme song – is a ruthless but hilarious historical timeline of the fate of one of the world’s most contested regions.

Here’s a list (in order) of the of all the “conquerors,” from cave men and Cannanites to Hamas and IDF fighters. For commentary, check out the “Who’s Killing Who?” section underneath the video on Paley’s blog.

Early Man

Canaanite

Egyptian

Assyrian

Israelite

Babylonian

Macedonian/Greek

Greek/Macedonian

Ptolemaic

Seleucid

Hebrew Priest

Maccabee

Roman

Byzantine

Arab Caliph

Crusader

Mamluk of Egypt

Ottoman Turk

Arab

British

Palestinian

European Jew/Zionist

PLO/Hamas/Hezbollah

State of Israel

Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/Terrorist

and last, but not least…

The Angel of Death


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