WHAT WE NEED NOW IS A GOOD INQUISITION, BY TOLEDO!
On looking at Best of Both Worlds
, via Sully Watch
I got a nice insight into the erudition of Andrew Sullivan
. His question concerning Iraq:
"Iraq has been a free country for a single year after decades of fascism, mass murder, communal paranoia, hysteria, random violence, and economic collapse. Did we expect the place to become Toledo overnight?"
The interesting thing about this (as pointed out by more astute bloggers) is that he could easily be referring to Toledo, Spain. Toledo was a great centre of learning
"In Muslim Spain, knowledge from Greece and Rome was preserved. Arab scholars produced encyclopedias on medicine and astronomy in 11th century, also including astrology, psychology, zoology, biology, botany, chemistry, physics, mathematics, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, etc., which Christian scholars acquired and translated. Toledo thrived essentially because of its Muslim rule, and became the "cradle of learning," and the chief point of interaction between the Muslims, Christians and Jews. Western scholars traveled to Spain and Sicily to learn Arabic and to make transcripts of texts in Latin. Muslims produced cotton, paper, salt, silk, satin, pepper, stamps, clocks, soaps, rulers, maps, globes, furs, velvets, described over 200 surgical instruments, and named over 200 stars with Arabic names. Hence, it was this Islamic civilization in Spain that was the main threshold behind the European Renaissance. During the time the Muslims set foot in Spain in 711 until 1084 (a year before Toledo was taken) Muslim Spain had become an area unique to the entire world."
What happened after the Christians took the city, and the rest of Spain? Two things:
1. The Inquisition which drove (or coverted) the Muslims (and Jews) out of Spain. Spain which had been integrated with as many as 5.6 million muslims in the Moorish part of Spain, was homogenized. This portion of the Inquisition was complete by 1605.
""The land deprived of skillful irrigation of the Moors grew impoverished and neglected, the richest and most fertile valleys languished and were deserted, and most of the populous cities which had filled every district in Andalusia, fell into ruinous decay; and beggars, friars, and bandits took the place of scholars, merchants and knights. So low fell Spain when she had driven away the Moors. Such is the melancholy contrast offered by her history."
So, when Mr. Sullivan goes on and says that:
"It may be dark this Friday, but Christians are told that a new day will dawn. Not in three days. But in time. If we keep our nerve."
It would be nice to think that we will act as agents of enlightenment. I want to think so. But if I was a historically sensitive Muslim, I wouldn't be holding my breath on this...