Because of my background I am an avid fan of video games. I don’t play as much as I would like to as I have a number of other responsibilities, but when a spare moment offers itself I will take a shot at some of the newer games and so it happens that I have tried to play Assassin’s Creed. An extremely well crafted game and very challenging with a compelling story… a story that, over the long term, got downright annoying. For some reason today if the ties are Christian and involve secrecy it must be bad.
In assassin’s creed you play a young man who is the ancestor of a member of the Hashashin, an Islamic order of assassins (assassin comes from the term Hashashin, which also relates to the order’s fondness for hashish) that operated out of Syria and was made famous by some of their brazen acts during the crusades. The Hashashin were actually quite an honorable order outside of their major practice in that they did not inflict harm on the innocent and were very protective of the general populace. They did practice their skill indiscriminately as many fell by their practice on both sides of the crusades, Christian and Muslim alike. The authors of the game actually point this out quite well.
What torqued me over time was the decided effort to vilify orders such as the Knights Templar, Knights Hospitallier and Teutonic Knights. One writer has even gone so far, when questioned about the history represented, to state that the Templars controlled so much that they re-wrote much of history. This idiot needs to have his head examined.
I could spend all day pointing out the nature and history of the Templars and Hospitallers (the Teutonic Knights did not appear until after the dates of the game so I will leave them out), who protected pilgrims on their way to the holy land, set up banks and hospitals (Hospitaller/Hospital) to aid the same and were both respected and feared men by their peers and enemies. I could point out that even the mysteries of the Templars have come to light in the nature of new records released by the Catholic Church that show the persecution of the Templar order as unjust, so much so that Pope Benedict has absolved the order of any wrongdoing, and pardoned them, 400 years too late. But I would rather point out the fact that Islamist Extremism has remained the same for 1000+ years and for some reason that’s ok, but for secret orders such as the Hospitallers and Templars, well they must be inherently evil.
So, here we go. The first crusade was actually a response to a request from the Byzantine Emperor because the Saljuk Turks were taking over Byzantine Territory by force. Any argument that this land belonged to the turks initially is bunk because prior to the byzantine empire it was a roman colony and prior to that asia minor was primarily greek in origin (remember troy?) In addition the Saljuks were not overtly Christian friendly, slaughtering Christian Pilgrims en route to the holy land. Also the Caliph of Egypt, Sultan Hakim, was slaughtering Christian Pilgrims in the Holy Land and destroyed one of their foremost religious and holy symbols, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. I think these two would seriously be considered Extremist Muslims today. Now, imagine today if Mecca were in western hands and muslim pilgrims were being put to death and the al-Haram (Great Mosque) destroyed. The cry to liberate the land would be deafening, if you dispute that simply watch the demonstrations against Geert Wilders of Holland and his anit-Koran film. But for some reason Christians and the west are seen as the bad guys of the crusades today.
Now during the crusades there were atrocities on both sides, I am not attempting to ignore that fact, whole towns of Muslim women and children put to death, and whole towns of Christian women and children put to death (in the latter a lot of the children were sold into slavery). The interesing thing is none of the Christian atrocities involve the Templars or the Hospitallers. But hey, they must be evil.
Ok, many of you will say that I am being a petty whiner, so be it, but I would like to enjoy a game without some idiots uninformed indoctrination. Dennis Miller would certainly chastise me for such whining and hey, I played the darned game, but lets re-arrange and make the Hashashin the bad guys and the Templars the good guys, you don’t think the outcry would be deafening? If you think not, go get your head examined.