Starting with the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War 1 and the remodelling of the Middle East by the west, this film looks at the historical influences in modern Islamic ... See full summary »

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Starting with the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War 1 and the remodelling of the Middle East by the west, this film looks at the historical influences in modern Islamic terrorism and specifically the attack on America of 9/11. Written by bob the moo

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3 September 2005 (UK)  »

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An engaging and accessible documentary
11 October 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Starting with the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War 1 and the remodelling of the Middle East by the west, this film looks at the historical influences in modern Islamic terrorism and specifically the attack on America of 9/11. Trying to summarise a century of history in the Middle East is not an easy task – not even if you tighten the focus just on the rise of what has become the targets of America's War on Terror. However, in just under an hour, this film manages to do it in an informative, interesting and easy to follow fashion. It may skim over the details a bit much for some people's tastes but to me the fact that it was so concise and accessible only made it better – not everyone wants to sit for 4 hours of detail.

Given the fear and misunderstanding of Islam at the moment it does help to sit and look back at where it has come from. One contributor said that for years the West has used the Middle East as a gas station, keeping the prices low and allowing them to do whatever they wanted as long as it was in the background. What the documentary does well is to show how neglect and apathy from the West allowed forces to rise within the countries of the Middle East that have only served to make it easier for the extremist forces to get a foothold. The contributors are all very good; they know their stuff and they are kept succinct and engaging.

Overall an interesting documentary that serves as an engaging entry into the complicating world of Middle Eastern politics over the past century. It is easy to follow but not dumbed down in any way. Screened on a Saturday night in the UK, this was the perfect antidote to the puerile game shows and celebrity fare that the majority of viewers lap up.


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