I have previously shown 16 episodes from NHK’s famed Silk Road Series, which began as a adventurous project in 1980 and produced 12 episodes in the 1st series, and 18 episodes in the second.
The other 14 episodes were not available online at that time, and I have since learned that NHK in the early 2000s continued with a 3rd (10 episodes, unavailable at present) and 4th series (5 episodes), making 45 episodes in all.
In the last of these films exploring the western part of the Silk Roads we visit Syria and Lebanon, and meet with the diverse religions that they are home to.
The first stop is in an old Christian village in Syria, where we meet some of the elders and hear how they protected the village from other religionists in recent times.
We get a brief overview of the changing religions that have ruled in this area, from the pagan Romans, the Byzantine Christians, the Muslim Ottomans and the Shi’ites, and the conflict this has given rise to.
We next travel into Lebanon, and see the national symbol: the cedars of Lebanon, and learn about its significance as a symbol of endurance and co-existence.
We lastly hear from a Sunni father whose son was captured and killed by Shi’ites for no other reason than he was Sunni. The father now dedicates his time to inculcating peace amongst the various religious groups.
One thing that struck me about this section of the series is how much tragedy has haunted the peoples in this region, and for how long. Once prosperous kingdoms have been brought to ruin, and countless families have suffered in the name of religious ideologies. A problem we see up to this day.
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