Self-described “cynical cartoon artist” turned animation artist, Nina Paley, has created a VERY graphic, animated history of the battle for the Holy Land called This Land is My Land. As the animation progresses from earliest history to the modern struggle over the land, the viewer is serenaded by the late Andy Williams who is singing Pat Boone’s This Land is Mine. A lot of detail has gone into this 3 and 1/2 minutes piece. For example, the animation is cleverly coordinated with the lyrics, which provides rich irony for the attentive listener.

A “viewer’s guide” is provided here (WARNING: scatological reference) that might be helpful in recognizing the cast of caricatures. Students of the region, might find it more interesting to try to identify the caricatures without the guide, then check themselves afterward.

A final word: The animation represents an artist’s frustrated effort to illustrate a particular view or understanding (perhaps the major global understanding of those who are watching from afar) of the long conflict over the land that is often called the Holy Land. It skips both historical and theological detail and nuance, which is likely out of both necessity and perspective. While it does provide a certain angle to the conflict, watching it does not provide the viewer with a complete understanding of the history. The issues are not this simple.

To put a finer point on this, a friend remarked, “That the angel of death is the ‘real hero of the Old Testament’ couldn’t be more wrong. In a world of death, the OT was the one source of life.”

One of the guiding principles and a distinction of Discipleship Travel LLC is that we provide our travelers with a view of the history of the Holy Land that includes the theological motivations and influences that are so important to a proper and more complete understanding of the region’s history. We emphasize helping our participants understand how Scripture and history walk hand in hand; in other words, how the pieces fit together in a way that is neither cynical nor defeatist.

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