Ahmed Khan Durrani: Father of Afghanistan

Lead: In the history of Afghanistan few names exceed the importance of Ahmed Khan.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Throughout its history as a nation Afghanistan has had to jealously guard its position and independence. It is a desert land, dry and mountainous with a certain desolate beauty, whose attraction to its neighbors has less to do with this natural resource than its strategic position across the path of conquest from the central plains of Asia into the rich Indian sub-continent. The Afghan people are an alliance of tribal groups the majority of which derive their ethnic heritage from a racial group known as Pushtoons and speak an Indo-European language that is related to but does not come from Persian.


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Shabbatai Zevi II

Lead: In 1665, Shabbatai Zevi declared himself the long-awaited messiah of Israel. Within a year, he had converted to Islam and thrown the Jewish world into chaos and disruption.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After being cast out of his home town of Smyrna, Zevi began a long period of wandering, through Palestine and Egypt, attracting followers and continuing his life-long struggle with alternating periods of manic-depression and exaltation, during the latter of which he evidenced truly bizarre behavior. This both offended and attracted a growing number of followers. His most important was a brilliant rabbi, Nathan of Gaza, who, after meeting Shabbatai Sevi in February, 1665, experienced an ecstatic vision that saw his new friend as the Messiah. From that point, Nathan tried to convince him and others that he was, in fact, the long-awaited representative of God. This highly respected, independent confirmation tying his appearance with the kabbalistic story of creation, kicked off the Shabbatean Movement. By May 1665, Zevi was sure of himself and fully engaged in asserting his messianic mission.

Shabbatai Zevi I

Lead: In the mid-1660s the Jewish world was rocked by the appearance and claims of a messiah, Shabbatai Sevi, who some have deemed the most significant millenarian movement in modern Jewish history. He, however, was a piece of work.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: He was born in Smyrna, a wealthy port city on the west coast of present-day Turkey. His family recognized a native intelligence which destined him for the rabbinate. He studied under some of the most prominent rabbis in Smyrna and probably around 15 began a life of isolation, abstinence and asceticism, during which he struggled with powerful sexual temptation. Shabbatai became a rabbi about the age of 18 and became attracted to Kaballism with its emphasis on the devotional life and the coming of the messiah.

The Hijrah of Muhammad

Lead: Ironically, his home town, the City of Mecca, proved to be most resistant to the work of Muhammad the founder of Islam.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Perhaps it is true that no prophet has honor in his own country but in Muhammad's case the prejudice was probably also due to tribal rivalry because his clan, the Hashim, were not the most prominent in the City.

Three years after the initial vision which launched his career as the messenger of Allah, Muhammed began to preach openly. The year was 613. The people of Mecca worshipped many God's and Muhammad message that Allah was supreme began to attract opposition. Slowly, however, with the opposition, came support. Several young men of the city, some from the wealthiest families, were attracted to his message and the movement began to grow. 

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Josephus, Ancient Historian II

Lead: Drawn into a rebellion against Rome he thought unwinnable, the Jewish historian Josephus helped lead the revolt in A.D. 66, was captured and made ready to be taken to Rome for trial and certain death.

Intro.: "A Moment In Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Josephus came from a prominent clerical family and he followed in that tradition by becoming a priest. As the patriotic movement for Jewish independence reached fever pitch Josephus was swept along. He was installed as Governor and Defender of Galilee and when the Romans came into re-establish their control, Josephus was taken into custody.



Josephus, Ancient Historian I

Lead: In an era of high drama and conflict the Jewish historian Josephus was an active participant.

Intro.: "A Moment In Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in A.D. 37 to a prominent family of Judean priests, Josephus began preparation to carry on the family tradition. He later wrote describing himself as a diligent student and his education as primarily religious and he became a priest at the age of 19. In Judaism during this period there were three theological parties struggling for influence within the community and he affiliated himself with the largest and most vigorous. Josephus became a Pharisee.



Modern Middle Eastern Map III

Lead: In 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. He justified this because he claimed his small neighbor was a creation of the British after World War I. He neglected to say that so was Iraq.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: During the war, to protect its colonial lifeline in the Middle East and with millions of troops tied down in the trenches of Europe, Britain encouraged rival Arab clans to attack Turkish forces in Arabia, Palestine and Syria. They recruited Emir, later King, Husayn ibn Ali, of the Hejas, the western region of the Arabian peninsula, Husayn’s sons, Abdullah and Faisal, and Ibn Saud the bitter rival of the Husayn family whose Bedouin warriors boiled out of the Arabian heartland to attack Turks and Arab alike. To each Britain made promises of territory carved from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. In addition, to secure Jewish help in the war against Germany, in 1917 British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour expressed support for a Zionist homeland in Palestine.

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Modern Middle Eastern Map II

Lead: It is possible that the Middle East might have avoided becoming embroiled in the First World War had it not been for the scheming of Enver Pasha.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.            

Content: Despite internal weakness, the Ottoman Empire, which for centuries prior to 1900 had dominated a large part of Middle East, still ruled at least nominally upward of twenty million people in the Balkans, Turkey, Palestine and Transjordan. Yet, the many problems and persistent conservatism of the Empire had generated efforts at reform and occasional revolts. The most significant rebellion came in 1908 led by a secret society within the Army known as the Young Turks. One of the organizers of the Young Turk Revolution was Enver Pasha. Coming from meager origins, Enver joined the Young Turks as an apprentice officer and in 1913 led the coup d’état that restored his party to power. He became Ottoman Minister of War in 1914 and just before the outbreak of hostilities in Europe secured a secret treaty with the Germans.

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