Friday, December 30, 2005

Mark Twain on Palestine

From his travelogue, The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain had this to say about the Palestine he traveled through in 1867-68.
Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a
curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. Where
Sodom and Gomorrah reared their domes and towers, that solemn sea now
floods the plain, in whose bitter waters no living thing exists--over
whose waveless surface the blistering air hangs motionless and dead--
about whose borders nothing grows but weeds, and scattering tufts of
cane, and that treacherous fruit that promises refreshment to parching
lips, but turns to ashes at the touch. Nazareth is forlorn; about that
ford of Jordan where the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with
songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins
of the desert; Jericho the accursed, lies a moldering ruin, to-day, even
as Joshua's miracle left it more than three thousand years ago; Bethlehem
and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about
them now to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the
Saviour's presence; the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their
flocks by night, and where the angels sang Peace on earth, good will to
men, is untenanted by any living creature, and unblessed by any feature
that is pleasant to the eye. Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest
name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a
pauper village; the riches of Solomon are no longer there to compel the
admiration of visiting Oriental queens; the wonderful temple which was
the pride and the glory of Israel, is gone, and the Ottoman crescent is
lifted above the spot where, on that most memorable day in the annals of
the world, they reared the Holy Cross. The noted Sea of Galilee, where
Roman fleets once rode at anchor and the disciples of the Saviour sailed
in their ships, was long ago deserted by the devotees of war and
commerce, and its borders are a silent wilderness; Capernaum is a
shapeless ruin; Magdala is the home of beggared Arabs; Bethsaida and
Chorazin have vanished from the earth, and the "desert places" round
about them where thousands of men once listened to the Saviour's voice
and ate the miraculous bread, sleep in the hush of a solitude that is
inhabited only by birds of prey and skulking foxes.

Palestine is desolate and unlovely. And why should it be otherwise? Can
the curse of the Deity beautify a land?
I bring all of this up due to this post at Mystery Achievement. It's about another attempt by Palestinians to rewrite history in order to pretend that there is legitimacy to Islamic claims to Jerusalem. Yes, I swiped the following photos from Mystery Achievement. Look at them carefully. They are of the Al-Aqsa Mosque taken in 1877.

g Posted by Picasa

Notice all of the weeds in the foreground. It doesn't appear that there have been enough feet traveling through to keep pesky vegetation from growing between the paving stones . . . in a desert. Let's face it, this real estate didn't become important to Muslims until Jews began to move in and make the desert bloom. Posted by Picasa And if you haven't already done so, head over to Mystery Achievement and read the original post. Read this one too. Muslims aren't only trying to take away Jewish and Christian history. They want to replace all of the world's history. From Mystery Acheivement:
What makes the story in Meryl's post (and her comments on it) so important, though, is that it elegantly combines Arab Muslim replacement theology with its secular equivalent: a make-believe world in which the founding of the West had nothing to do with either Judaism or Christianity, resulting in the banishment of even the most rudimentary knowledge of the Bible from a culture founded on the premise that everything in it was literally true. Rushing in to fill this howling vacuum is a culture that will help the secularists achieve their goal--though what awaits the secularists once it is accomplished is perhaps a topic best left alone. And not even the most defenseless and helpless people in any society--the dead--are spared their combined assualt.
None of us are being spared the assault of Islam. We need to wake up to that fact.

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At 3:13 PM, Blogger someguy said...

Thanks for linking, Harry.

In case you hadn't noticed, I have a link in my sidebar to another post by Smooth Stone on Jerusalem with a later photo (1920s), and some quotes from various travellers, including Mark Twain. Good stuff if you have the time to check it out.

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Harry said...

Thanks, I will take a look.


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