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In November of 1095, Pope Urban II initiated the first European attempt at colonizing the Muslim world - known in the West as the Crusades - by drawing this fateful picture:
For you must hasten to carry aid to your brethren dwelling in the East, who need your help, which they have often asked. For the Turks, a Persian people, have attacked them I exhort you with earnest prayer - not I, but God - that, as heralds of Christ, you urge men by frequent exhortation, men of all ranks, knights as well as foot soldiers, rich as well as poor, to hasten to exterminate this vile race from the lands of your brethren Christ commands it. And if those who set out thither should lose their lives on the way by land, or in crossing the sea, or in fighting the pagans, their sins shall be remitted. Oh what a disgrace, if a race so despised, base, and the instrument of demons, should so overcome a people endowed with faith in the all-powerful God, and resplendent with the name of Christ. Let those who have been accustomed to make private war against the faithful carry on to a successful issue a war against the infidels. Let those who for a long time have been robbers now become soldiers of Christ. Let those who fought against brothers and relatives now fight against these barbarians. Let them zealously undertake the journey under the guidance of the Lord. [15]

The Pope's words lay out many of the themes that would characterize this mass colonial movement East for the next two centuries. In one reading of
the Crusading venture, restless knights and small-tune princes are enticed
by their lords with tales of land and wealth, fuel the hopes of turning their swords away from the increasingly nervous feudal establishment, or what the Pope calls the faihful brethren. Landless folks and the poor -euphemized by the Pope as criminals - can also be turned Eastward with enticements of land and Divine forgiveness. But what is most interestinghere is that the Pope conceptualizes his Oriental Other in racial terms. The enemy, for now, is the debased races of Turks and Persians, and Islam is not yet a part of the Western conceptual matrix.

Extracted From:
Title: The Utility of Islamic Imagery in the West (Part 2 of 4)
Author: J.A. Progler

Notes from the Article:

1. The best comprehensive discussion on the lineage of Western legal thought from the Crusades through modern legal treatment of Native Americans is Robert A. Williams, The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).

2. Robert F. Berkhofer, The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (New York: Vintage, 1979).

3. Ibid., 29.

4. Ibid., 30.

5. Ibid., 30-31.

6. For example: Norman Daniel, Islam and the West: The Making of an Image
(Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1961); Hichem Djait, Europe and Islam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985); Thierry Hentsch, Imagining the Middle East (Montreal: Black Rose, 1992); Edward Said, Orientalism, (New York: Vintage, 1979).

7. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1979).

8. Ibid., 301 and 322.

9. Ibid., 325-326.

10. Thierry Hentsch, Imagining the Middle East (Montreal: Black Rose, 1992).

11. Martin Bernal, Black Athena. The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1987).

12. Hentsch, op. cit., ix.

13. Ibid., x.

14. Ibid., xiv, emphasis in the original.

15. The passage appears in August C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eye Witnesses and Participants (Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1958).

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid., and cf. Marshall Hodgson, Rethinking World History: Essays on Europe, Islam and World History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

18. In Krey, op. cit., 275.

19. In Norman Daniel, Heroes and Saracens: An Interpretation of the Chansons de Geste (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1984).

20. In D.D.R. Owen, ed., The Song of Roland: The Oxford Text (London: Allen & Unwin, 1972), 75.

21. In Daniel, 1984, op. cit., 70.

22. These quotes are from David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 179. Stannard provides a particularly useful overview of the relationship between sex and violence in Western colonial discourse, especially in the section on "Sex, Race, and Holy War."

23. Karen Armstrong, Holy War: The Crusades and their Impact on Today's World (NewYork: Anchor, 1992), 230.

24. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction (New York: Vintage, 1990).

25. Ibid., 58-59.

26. Ibid., 230.

27. In Stannard, op. cit., 253, cf. Douglas Kellner, The Persian Gulf TV War (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1992).

28. This story, including a case study of Puritan violence toward Indians, is well told by Francis Jennings, The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest (New York: Norton, 1976).

29. Fuad Sha'ban, Islam and Arabs in Early American Thought: The Roots of
Orientalism in America (Durham, North Carolina: The Acorn Press, 1991), 23-26.

30. In ibid., 20.

31. Ibid., 149.

32. Ibid., 183.

33. Henry Giroux provides a useful analysis of Aladdin and other Disney films as they relate to child development in America, in his essay "Are Disney Movies Good for Your Kids?" which can be found in the collection of essays edited by Shirley R. Steinberg and Joe L. Kinchloe, Kinderculture: The Corporate Construction of Cllildhood (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1997), 53-67.

34. Kellner, op. cit., 68-70.

35. For an explication of this thesis, see Joyce Nelson, The Perfect Machine: TV in the Nuclear Age (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1987).

36. Ward Churchill, Fantasies of the Master Race: Literature, Cinema and the
Colonization of American Indians (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1992), 245.

37. There is a growing genre of conspiracy literature espousing this thesis in the US, which has been recently heightened by an Israeli scholar working on a Congressional task force under President Bill Clinton, Yossef Bodansky. See in particular his book Target America: Terrorism in the U.S. Today (New York: Shapolsky, 1993). The same book with identical text is marketed outside the US under the title Target the West.

38. This was reported by Reuters on 20 April 1995. All quotes in this paragraph and the next were taken from this report.

39. This was reported in a series of news releases by the Associated Press on 20 April 1995.

40. See, for example, Crescent Intennational 1-15 May 1995.

41. This was reported by Reuters 20 April 1995; for a fuller account of the media circus, see the July/August 1995 issue of Extra!, the magazine of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting).

42. For a representative sample of this work, see the following: Edmund Ghareeb, ed. Split Vision: The Portrayal of Arabs in the American Media (Washington, DC: The American-Arab Affairs Council, 1983); Jack Shaheen, The TV Arab (Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1984); Michael W. Suleiman, The Arabs in the Mind of America (Brattleboro, Vermont: Amana Books, 1988).

43. Herman's statements are taken from a piece he wrote in the November 1994 issue of Z Magazine.

44. Bernard Nietschmann, "The Third World War," Cultural Survival Quarterly 11, no. 3 (1987).

45. The relationship between language and politics, and especially the struggle over normative issues, is nicely detailed by Franke Wilmer, The Indigenous Voice in World Politics: From Time Immemorial (London: Sage Publications, 1993).

J. A. Progler, Winter 1997.







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