Where can i begin with this one? After having done the review of part 1 i had promised myself to avoid doing a review for part 2. I wanted to save myself from being dragged into yet another of the age-old sentimental debates and discussions. An endless argumentative discussion which has no ends in sight. Unfortunately, i had no choice but to put pen to paper and again let myself try to ‘page in’ my views of what Dr Thomas Asbridge accounts of the crusades depicts and mounts to.
Frankly speaking, from the beginning of part two Dr Thomas Asbridge makes an illusive and a pathetic attempt to bring to our attention the reasons why the first crusades lost their stronghold of the “crusader kingdom”. He places the fault on the elements and not so much to the power and exuberance, the strong resilience and willpower of Saladin and his men to regain the lost lands. From the onset of the first crusades, it is clear that it was a provocation and an offensive attack which the western, christian world had launched upon the muslim east. The muslims were merely being defensive of their lands, of oppression and destruction.
A defensive battle still being forged and fought up to this day! The crusades of the middle ages may have ended, however the crusades of today has taken a new meaning and a ulteria motive. That being, the complete wipeout of the muslim faith, Islam. Not just the recapturing of the holy land, Jerusalem. (although it has to some extent been accomplished already by the franks).
I found it appalling that despite being a professor, a man of reputable standing in the academic world, Dr Thomas Asbridge uses a childish like attitude to say “my hero’s died because of the harsh environmental nature of the land and not because of your effort of your people”. – A display of defensive reaction suitable for the school playground!
To say that the causes of the loss of the first crusades was largely down to “dehydration” or the “lack of water” is simply a shambolic attempt to hide away from the truth. The environmental climate surely would have played a part. But, i fail to see how this would have been the major cause of the loss of the war. By the end of the first crusades and the beginning of the second, the crusaders in their “crusader kingdom”, had settled in the holy land for more than 30 years in which they had sufficient time to climitise and become fully adaptable to the change and the environment of the middle eastern lands. If the cultural boundaries had begun to be shifted and new boundaries formed, where one culture was influencing the other. Would not the “mighty crusaders” have had enough time to become climitise to the harsh environmental nature of the land, by the time Saladin came knocking at their doors? The answer is clear. Dr Thomas Asbridge also makes a number attempts and assumptions to portray an image that the muslims only won because they had mother nature to their side, something which Saladin was fully able to take advantage of, which in turn helped him to re-gain the muslim stolen lands. Such utter nonsense!
I could barely go watching beyond 25mins of the programme. The amount of biased journalism which he showed was unbearable. From the onset of part 2 Dr Thomas Asbridge was clear with the vision he wanted to clearly embed on the minds of his audience. the muslim warrior, the uniter and the guardian of the muslims faith is and was not all the things that are widely circulated about him. That, in actual fact Saladin was a mindless murderer, a mass murderer of men, women, and children, that is. A lunatic who was bent of burning down Jerusalem at all means, to secure his rule and prove his leadership to the other feuding muslim fractions. Where as on the other hand, We find Dr Thomas Asbridge constantly paints the image of “richard the lion heart” as a saint, who was the saviour of middle-eastern christians, enslaved by the tyrant muslim ruler, Saladin. The proof is in the pudding as they often say, When salad in came to the doors of jerusalem, it is a widely known and accepted fact that, Saladin agreed to a surrender agreement made by the Christians at the time, when surrendering Jerusalem to Saladin. In which, it was agreed no christian will be killed or molested on his/her way of the holy land. That, all christians will find safe of passage out of Jerusalem and into the christian lands. Well, Dr Thomas Asbridge seeks out to destroy this image of Saladin, a man who was said to have been pious, a man who had high moral standings and beliefs. Dr Thomas Asbridge paints a picture of Saladin as being a monster! where he apparently said on reaching the doors of Jerusalem, “you will see no mercy nor get any amnesty”. Dr Thomas Asbridge seeks to draw parallels between what the first crusaders army did, killing every muslim resident of Jerusalem with that of what and Saladin ‘apparently’ did. Just so that he can find some justification of the crusaders army and say in turn ‘well the muslims were also monsters, they also killed everyone and spared none.’ to the question of crusaders being a cruel and inhumane beings.
The biased, view-point is further reinforced, as he, during the course of the programme mentions several times that “he is a lover of the crusades and a student of the topic”. This is evidential enough for anyone to know the programme cannot give a neutral view of the events that unfolded during those eras pf the crusades. It is bound to be opinionated with Dr Thomas Asbridge’s beliefs and views of the crusades.
It lacks that credibility to galvanise the open-minded, intellectual person to his way of beliefs and views of the crusades. In part one we were given the image that the “warriors of god” – the crusaders, were able to overcome all the odds and still manage to over throw the evil muslim rule of the holy land. An image of “superhuman” men was cast deep into the minds of Dr Thomas Asbridge’s audiences by the end of part 1. However, in part 2 he alludes to the point that these “superhuman” men were dwafted and annihilated by the environments! Although it is contradictory by itself, it begs to question why didn’t the invading christian armies, the crusaders, the men with superhuman abilities, the men who can overcome all the odds, manage to repel the muslim armies when they were already settled in these land for more than 30 years and had climitised by then?
All in all, i have to say that, part 1 was bad enough, but part 2 has redefined that term ‘bad’ in my definition of words! It was clear from the beginning to the end, Dr Thomas Asbridge was out to destroy the heroic and the saintly image of Saladin and further glorify the image of “richard the lion heart”. I will end with this, that whenever the two leaders were refered to, Dr Thomas Asbridge always seemed to give richard the upper hand. He always refered to richard as ” richard the LION HEART” and when it came to Saladin, only “Saladin” nothing more. I can only use one word to describe part two and its contents that were delivered, and that is ‘Despicable!’.