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Mesopotamia: Return to Eden

The roots of the world's major religions lie in the valleys of Mesopotamia's Fertile Crescent. Here archaeologists are digging for the sites of Biblical stories, and unearthing clues to the dawn of civilization.
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My Land [electronic resource]: Seeing Both Sides of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Born to a Moroccan Muslim father and a Tunisian Jewish mother, filmmaker Nabil Ayouch spent his childhood hearing divergent views about Israel and Palestine. Still wrestling with "a conflict that never left me," Ayouch created this poignant documentary about young Israelis, displaced Palestinians, and the threads of tragic history woven between two communities with deep ties to the same land. Ayouch entered Lebanese refugee camps to record personal testimonies from elderly Palestinians about memories of their birthplaces. Then he visited those homes in present-day Israel to learn about the attitudes of the young people currently living there. This process of gathering perspectives enabled Ayouch to set up the film's evocative virtual encounters, in which the Israeli subjects view and [...]

Voices From the Desert [electronic resource]

Since their discovery, the Dead Sea Scrolls have proven to be among the most important archeological finds ever. Holding a two thousand-year-old incarnation of the Bible and charting the religious and sociological history, the scrolls contain text that supports both Judaism and Christianity. This film examines the events surrounding the find and how the entire world reacted to their discovery.

Archeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls [electronic resource]

The Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in 1947 but the archeological work continues to this day. Consisting of religious text and sectarian manuscripts in several different ancient languages, the question of who wrote the scrolls has yet to be definitively answered. This film explores that question as well as the story told by the scrolls, including the contents of one of the scrolls, the Rules for the Congregation, which gives the rules for living in the Messianic age.

Ben-Gurion [electronic resource]

This documentary tells the story of David Ben-Gurion, the man who bore the greatest responsibility for the creation of the State of Israel: the early interest in Hebrew and youthful proselytizing for Jewish causes assuming sudden urgency from the 1903 pogrom at Kishinev and the call not to stand by and be massacred; the new reason for going to Palestine-national, not religious; his arrival with the second aliyah; the choice of a Hebrew name: Ben-Gurion was the last leader of the free Jewish state before the Roman subjugation. The program continues through the travails and terrors and defeats and joys of Palestine under the Ottoman Turks and the British Mandate, the Holocaust, the UN Partition Resolution, the establishment of the State of Israel, and his career as Israel's first Prime [...]

The Historic Memory [electronic resource]

In this program, Bill Moyers and three recognized Arab historians discuss the major historical periods in the Arab world, from its ancient past as a leader in science, mathematics, and literature, through colonization by the French and British, to the present. The Koran is discussed as a constitutional document, and the role of the West in Arab political affairs is analyzed.

Human Rights in the Occupied Territories [electronic resource]

The Oslo Accords provided for the creation of a Palestinian interim self-government, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The Palestinian Authority would have responsibility for the administration of the territory under its control. The Accords also called for the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. This episode examines the efforts of field workers from two different but complementary human rights groups - one Palestinian, the other Israeli - in making this a reality. Hanan Ashrawi, a one-time Palestinian peace negotiator and head of a Palestinian human rights group is interviewed. Also featured are Allen Ginsberg's new poem "Peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina" read by the author himself, and a performance by the predominantly Aust [...]

Egypt [electronic resource]: Behind the Revolution

Filmed during the spring of 2011, this program offers an inside look at the events that led to Hosni Mubarak's resignation and a new political era in Egypt. It gives the uprisings in Cairo and other cities historical and cultural context so that viewers can better understand how a powerful, U.S.-backed regime could crumble with minimal violence and in such short order. In addition to a wide-ranging sociopolitical discussion, the film's on-the-ground testimonials fill in important details which, at the time, didn't reach observers outside the country. Egyptians from all walks of life are interviewed, explaining their contributions to Mubarak's fall and offering their reasons for taking to the streets to call for freedom and reforms. From the brewing discontent that preceded the revolu [...]

Declassified: Ayatollah Khomeini [electronic resource]

Before the world heard of Osama bin Laden, there was Ayatollah Khomeini. This program tracks the trajectory of Khomeini's influence on the Islamic revolution he was instrumental in launching.

Declassified: The Taliban [electronic resource]

This program tells the untold story of how the Taliban brought jihad to Kabul - and the streets of New York.

Unraveling the Mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls [electronic resource]

Many scholars attribute the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Essenes, a Jewish sect who inhabited the town of Qumran in ancient time, but not everyone agrees. This film explores how the human remains and artifacts unearthed by archeologists 50 years ago are only now beginning the story of those who, in desperation, hid the scrolls in the caves above Qumran, and never returned.

The Suez Crisis [electronic resource]: 1956

This documentary looks at the African side of the 1956 Arab-Israeli conflict-the British-French attempt to safeguard their economic interest in the Suez Canal. It explains the Anglo-French intervention of 1956, rapidly and forcefully put to an end by President Eisenhower; it also goes back in time to explain Britain's role in the Suez area, its history in Egypt, and its condescending view of Egyptian competence.

The Bhutto Saga [electronic resource]: Politics in the Blood

For forty years, whether in power or as members of the opposition, the Bhutto family played a pivotal role in Pakistan's violently turbulent politics. As its first democratically-elected leader Zulfikar Bhutto wrote the nation's constitution, but was deposed by coup and executed in 1979. His children endured years of imprisonment and exile until daughter Benazir returned to Pakistan, and at just 35 years of age, became the first woman to run a Muslim country. This program provides a biography of the Bhuttos, focusing on Benazir's rise to power and the challenges of the three terms she spent as prime minister until her assassination in 2007.

Iran [electronic resource]: The Hundred-Year War

Iran's sensitive geographic position and its oil reserves have made it the object of foreign interest since the beginning of the 20th century. This penetrating documentary traces the impact of these factors on the past 100 years of Iran's political history, helping viewers understand why the country has had such a complicated relationship with the West. The program gives a particularly eye-opening account of Cold War-era maneuvers by the U.S.-the 1953 coup, the introduction of nuclear reactors under the "Atoms for Peace" program-and examines the backlash from traditional Islamists that culminated decades later in the 444-day hostage crisis.

Nasseredin Shah and His 84 Wives [electronic resource]

In 1842 the heir to the Persian throne received a daguerreotype camera from Queen Victoria of England. In the following decades he used it to document his life, eventually leaving behind portraits of prime ministers, royal musicians, foreign dignitaries, and most especially, his 84 concubines and wives. This program provides the names and biographical details of the women who posed for Nasseredin Shah and reveals the influence that they, along with the colorful Queen Mother, had at court. Using the Shah's photos as well as animated sequences, the video places harem rivalries within the context of the power struggles that marked Nasseredin's rule as he vacillated between isolationism and allowing Persia to become a modern state.

The Ottomans [electronic resource]: Europe's Muslim Emperors-Episode 1

The roots of the Ottoman Empire go back to 13th-century Turkic nomads who staked claim to a portion of Anatolia and then, strengthened by mercenaries fleeing the Mongol invasion, began hammering at the walls of Byzantium. In this program Rageh Omaar explains how the Ottomans rose and with extraordinary speed conquered parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, changing history in ways that are still being felt today. Traveling to Greece and Bosnia, Omaar learns that the Fall of Constantinople remains fresh in the collective memory of Orthodox Christians; and finds a geopolitical rationale for current enmity between Sunnis and Shiites in the 1514 Battle of Chaldiran.

The Ottomans [electronic resource]: Europe's Muslim Emperors-Episode 2

Continuing his exploration of their impact on European history, in this program Rageh Omaar discusses the spread of the Ottoman Empire, its golden age, and factors that led to its decline by the early 20th century. Omaar explains how Suleiman the Magnificent consolidated his million-square-mile realm by combining religious law with political power, setting a precedent that would have consequences for the next four centuries. The lasting repercussions of the Siege of Vienna, the Wahhabist movement's challenge to the sultanate's spiritual authority, and threats from Christian Europe by the time of Abdul Hamid II-the last sultan-are also examined.

The Ottomans [electronic resource]: Europe's Muslim Emperors-Episode 3

Inspired by the French and American Revolutions, the multiethnic Ottoman domain began fracturing into nationalistic territories that eventually were all but dissolved by the European Powers following World War I. In this program, Rageh Omaar reviews the collapse of the once-great empire and explains how the seeds of present-day tensions in the Muslim world were sown. Omaar takes a special look at the Battle of Gallipoli, the Armenian genocide, and the forced relocation of millions of Anatolian Greeks, all tragic chapters in the story of Turkey's transition to a modern nation, as well as the resurgence of Ottomanism now revitalizing the Turkish economy.

Mother of All Battles: Part 3 [electronic resource]

In this program, battlefield footage captures the intensity of the war, the bombing of Iraqi military sites, and Scud missile attacks on Tel Aviv. Iraqi Prime Minister Tariq Aziz describes events leading up to the truce brokered by the Soviets. U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf discusses his frustration with Washington's decision not to continue the war despite Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait and Saddam Hussein's brutal repression of the Kurds.

The Crusades [electronic resource]: Crescent and the Cross

A holy city to Christians and Muslims alike, Jerusalem had been under Muslim control for more than 400 years when Christian soldiers first besieged it in 1096 AD. Galvanized by Pope Urban II, waves of Christian warriors had fought their way from Europe to the Holy Land intent on finally bringing it under Christian control. Despite countless battles, total victory remained elusive, and only the 13th century and a new scourge from the steppes of Asia would ultimately bring an end to the Crusades. With breathtaking computer-enhanced visuals, vivid reenactments, and stunning footage from rarely seen locations, this A&E Special brings the first three Crusades alive.