Nina Paley explains the Middle East

Warning: Includes excessive, prolonged violence, and Andy Williams singing without a hint of irony.

Confused about who is killing who? See the dramatis personae.


  1. Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare says

    Thanks for posting this, PZ. What can I say? The minute I saw it, I thought of FTB, and you.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    Confused about who is killing who?

    No. I am concerned about who is killing whom – and about bad grammar.

  3. numerobis says

    She missed the Sassanids! And IIRC there was rather a bit of back-and-forth between crusaders, arabs, and turks.

  4. Doc Bill says

    Nina Paley is absolutely brilliant!

    Check out her series “Sita Sings the Blues.” Hindu legend set to the music of Annette Handshaw.

    It’s an interesting story, too. Nina was “couch hopping” in New York and came across a collection of 20’s and 30’s recordings thus (re)discovering Annette Handshaw. Annette’s signature was to say “That’s all” at the end of her songs. Very endearing.

    I became quite a fan of both Paley and Handshaw and located several CD’s on Amazon and eBay.

    I know, WTF, right?

  5. loopyj says

    Also, the ‘Exodus’ song is a kick-ass piece of movie music, minus the lyrics.

  6. says

    Ah, yes, good old Pat Boone. No wonder the lyrics were so trite.

    Andy Williams had a great voice, often put in the service of pap. (I admit it: I never liked “Moon River.”)

  7. colnago80 says

    Currently, there are three hot wars going on in the Middle East, in Syria, Iraq, and Israel/Gaza. Seems to me to be a good place to be from, far from.

  8. says

    Nina Paley is awesome. She went through a lot of crap with copyright ridiculousness over the film of Sita, but stuck with it. You can still copy and download it freely, thanks to her perseverance and good contemporary business model.

  9. Trebuchet says

    Missing: The US and USSR, fighting each other through Israeli, Syrian, and Egyptian proxies. Poor old Jordan wasn’t a proper proxy for either, and was the biggest loser.

  10. says

    For more fun, read the comments for the angry “This video is misleading – we were promised this land in the bible” complaints.

  11. U Frood says

    “Yeah, there’s your promised land. Now go kill those people who have the nerve to be living there already.”

  12. Akira MacKenzie says

    Not to be pedantic, but I don’t think the Byzantines fought the Romans considering that the Byzantines WERE the Romans.

  13. sugarfrosted says

    You could have warned me about the fake hebrew font. God that’s horrible.

  14. numerobis says

    The eastern empire overthrew the western empire through shenanigans and hiring barbarians to invade Italy for them ca 470; and later (around 600, I forget exactly), they invaded Italy directly. I don’t think Rome and Constantinople ever crossed swords in the Levant though. And the cheat sheet alludes to taking liberties in that respect.

  15. esmith4102 says

    The “Angel of Death” laughs as the last tribe standing claim that arid blood soaked piece of land.

    Hey, even as an atheist, my money is on the metonymous “Angel of Death”, because “he” is the only sure winner in that part of the world!

  16. inquiringlaurence says

    Intense dark humor. Love it.

    So, how many people said that God was with them and that they would have this land to themselves until they died in those three minutes?

  17. azhael says

    Not knowing who any of those people were, and apparently not knowing how to read, i was blown away by the song, because in my head i thought the song had been specially composed for that video. I wasn’t prepared to find out that someone had sang that song from a radically different perspective.
    Now it’s gone from “holy shit, that’s fucking brilliant” to “holy shit, that’s fucking scary and sad”. Still a great song, though, and i want a poster of the angel of death.