“Des chrétiens ont ainsi forgé, de A à Z, le vocabulaire scientifique arabe. Telle fut notamment l’oeuvre de Hunayn ibn Ishaq (809-873), le véritable créateur de la terminologie médicale arabe, dont le génie consista non seulement à décalquer des mots grecs et à les «arabiser» en leur donnant une sonorité arabe (philosophia devenant falsafa) …”.
“Thus Christians have forged the Arab scientific vocabulary from A to Z. That was the nature of the work of Hunayn ibn Ishaq (809-873), the true creator of Arab medical terminology, whose genius not only consisted in the calquing of Greek words and to “arabize” them by giving them an Arabic sound (philosophia becoming falsafa) … “
“La conclusion est claire : l’Orient musulman doit presque tout à l’Orient chrétien. Et c’est cette dette que l’on passe souvent sous silence de nos jours, tant dans le monde musulman que dans le monde occidental.”
“The conclusion is clear: the Muslim East owes almost everything to the Christian East, and it is this debt that is often overlooked today, both in the Muslim world and in the Western world.”
Furthering my previous post on “places that cannot be left” (“The Captives of Longjumeau” and The Exterminating Angel), I remembered the book Krabat which I read as a child, about a young boy who winds up in a mill from which it is impossible to escape. Everyone who tries to run away wades through swamps all night, only to find himself (at dawn) back at the gates of that very same mill.
And by coincidence, yesterday, I watched the absurdist/surreal film Woman in the Dunes. Its male protagonist is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them.
Borges’ “Kafka and His Precursors” mentions Léon Bloy’s story “The Captives of Longjumeau“, which, in the words of Borges “relates the case of some people who posses all manner of globes, atlases, railroad guides and trunks, but who die without ever having managed to leave their home town”.
This reminded me of Luis Buñuel‘s film The Exterminating Angel, in which the guests of a posh dinner party are, for some inexplicable reason, psychologically, but not physically, trapped in a house.
Wondering if someone else had noticed the similarity between these two plotlines, I googled “The Captives of Longjumeau” and “The Exterminating Angel” and found A Reading Diary, a book by Alberto Manguel which lists fiction in which “time is suspended”, where “places cannot be left” (what I was looking for) and the opposite, “places cannot be reached.”
And so it came about that yesterday I watched Bitter Lake and for the first time I was disappointed by Curtis’ work. It struck me as a conspiracy theory film lacking a culprit. Arty and well executed, but a conspiracy theory nonetheless.
So I googled “conspiracy theory” and “Adam Curtis” and found “The Loving Trap“[above], a Bitter Lake spoof by a certain Ben Woodhams who described Bitter Lake as the ‘televisual equivalent of a drunken late night Wikipedia binge with pretension for narrative coherence’.
I see Woodhams’ point but remain a loving fan of Curtis’ work.