Thanks to google here is a satellite view of where we went a few days ago. About an hour’s drive and the birth place of Al Azraq and the place where the treaty was made that came to an end and Xativa (last post) was attacked and captured by Jaime I. Beautiful drive up to just over 2,100ft elevation, but to think of making this kind of journey pre-tarmac roads and cars!! Not for me, in spite of the views!!
There were Muslims of north African and Arabic background, but there were also Muslims who were living in the land prior to the invasion and who converted. By the time of Jaime (13th Century) and certainly by the time of the Expulsions (early 17th century) those being attacked were being attacked by other citizens in the land. It can only be described as a civil war. The Muslims were also, by the main, the stewards of the land, their care and work is amazing. Drive today and you can see the wonderful terraces for irrigation from the Moorish era. We understand that there are more stones involved in the terracing in Spain than in the Great Wall of China!! Plants and vegetables were introduced and grown – would we have huge paddy fields for rice (paella) across the Valencia comunidad had it not been for the Muslim influence?
We understand then that there was a strong element of civil war and of sin against the land in driving off the stewards from the land (as well as economically not very clever!!).
When we went to Xativa Gayle had an image of a specific Muslim leader, who she described to Noe. Immediately he responded with that is ‘Al Azraq’. Born in Alcala, to a mixed Christian / Muslim marriage. He and Jaime had a relationship that genuinely seemed to have respect for each other, hence the treaty. In all of this it would be naïve to suggest one party was good and the other bad – and think of Solzhenitsyn’s wisdom of the good / evil line never running between us but through each of us – but the breaking of the treaty does seem to be what is triggering the response in the Dayesh video. We consider Al Azraq a man of peace, and (now you can choose to stop reading!!) that in some way he was ready to receive an apology from us, and to release the land.
In these situations it is so hard to describe what goes on, and much harder to put a theological spin on it. What really happens? Who / what is being addressed? I draw a blank on it all. If we accept that the resurrection creates a time-warp (an ‘end’ event taking place somewhere between the beginning and the end, hence even graves in Jerusalem being emptied before their time!!) and that the land holds the record of what has taken place, it is not surprising that there are strange events that take place.
In Alcala we came to the statue and prayed. Gayle even gave the statute a kiss of peace on the cheek to acknowledge that our apology had been received. She said it was as real as kissing anyone on the cheek.
A meeting – many years after the event, but not too late!!!
Off home – the views are not bad!! A couple of days later Gayle and I drove north to another site… the content of the next post. Talk to you soon!!