The dark side of history

Super Rugby Canterbury Crusaders Image credit: Pinterest

History is always remembered from a singular point of view, and it will always be the one that advances our argument at the time.

Religious historian Peter Lineham is no exception, arguing on the AM Show for the Christchurch Crusaders to drop their name in favour of one that does not have a violent Muslim inference. Quote.

?I think once upon a time you could imagine the Crusaders as cheerful knights jostling around historically, I?m sure that?s why the name was drawn on by the Canterbury franchise when it was first created.? End of quote.

Thanks to fabulous branding and marketing, the Crusader brand is our most successful rugby franchise to date. Quote.

But you know, always it was a history of battle against Muslims. It was about a long, long fight over history. Now the simple fact is, that that historical debate is now much more sharply in the public eye, not just because of Christchurch, because really of everything since 2001 and the terrorist attacks in New York at that stage. I think that?s the background that forces the history to be reviewed.? End of quote.

The AM Show (transcribed)

I am vehemently opposed to rewriting history simply because it no longer supports our peaceful world view. Of course, the Crusaders name is associated with the ugliness of war; but using that argument we would have to abolish Anzac Day as well.

But Lineham gently rocks on, arguing that actually, the name Crusaders celebrates violence specifically against Muslims. Quote.

 ?Which parts of our [crusade] history do we want to celebrate?

Because that?s what we are doing with the name Crusaders. We are celebrating a part of history, which when you look at the full facts is ugly.

end quote.

Since Lineham has taken licence to pick and choose, I will go with his initial argument that the Crusaders brand was founded on smiling knights on horseback flashing fake swords, and they should keep it.

Local Muslims have not objected and we should not be deterred by the ugliness of war. Our history is full of violence but that does not force us to repeat it. Quote.

The Crusades were a series of religious wars between Christians and Muslims started primarily to secure control of holy sites considered sacred by both groups.

In all, eight major Crusade expeditions occurred between 1096 and 1291. The bloody, violent and often ruthless conflicts propelled the status of European Christians, making them major players in the fight for land in the Middle East.? End of quote.


That?s 300 years of war and violence, not forgetting there was no separation between church and state in those days. Wars were fought to preserve the faith which was also the government at the time. Ugliness was not restricted to one side or the other.

We now have separation of church and state and the freedom to remember, celebrate or mourn our religious heritage. But above all, we can learn from it. The good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.

Many people are fearful of discussing the inconvenient cultural clash between east and west, Muslim and Christian. This government is wrong to expect us to silently acquiesce because it does not further peaceful resolution of differences.

Talk we must, for the alternative is completely unacceptable because it is further violence.

This is not uncharted territory because we are still dealing with the cultural fallout from the Treaty.  Dear God, could we just speed this debate along a little faster and spend much less money, please?