This Land Is Mine

I envisioned This Land Is Mine as the last scene of my potential-possible-maybe- feature film, Seder-Masochism, but it’s the first (and so far only) scene I’ve animated. As the Bible says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Who’s Killing Who? A Viewer’s Guide

Because you can’t tell the players without a pogrom!

Early Man


Early Man
This generic “cave man” represents the first human settlers in Israel/Canaan/the Levant. Whoever they were.




What did ancient Canaanites look like? I don’t know, so this is based on ancient Sumerian art.

Ancient Egyptian



Canaan was located between two huge empires. Egypt controlled it sometimes, and…




….Assyria controlled it other times.




The “Children of Israel” conquered the shit out of the region, according to bloody and violent Old Testament accounts.




Then the Baylonians destroyed their temple and took the Hebrews into exile.





Here comes Alexander the Great, conquering everything!




No sooner did Alexander conquer everything, than his generals divided it up and fought with each other.




Greek descendants of Ptolemy, another of Alexander’s competing generals, ruled Egypt dressed like Egyptian god-kings. (The famous Cleopatra of western mythology and Hollywood was a Ptolemy.)




More Greek-Macedonian legacies of Alexander.


Hebrew Priest

Hebrew Priest
This guy didn’t fight, he just ran the Second Temple re-established by Hebrews in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile.


Led by Judah “The Hammer” Maccabee, who fought the Seleucids, saved the Temple, and invented Channukah. Until…




….the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and absorbed the region into the Roman Empire…




….which split into Eastern and Western Empires. The eastern part was called the Byzantine Empire. I don’t know if “Romans” ever fought “Byzantines” (Eastern Romans) but this is a cartoon.





Arab Caliph
Speaking of cartoon, what did an Arab Caliph look like? This was my best guess.




After Crusaders went a-killin’ in the name of Jesus Christ, they established Crusader states, most notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Egyptian Mamluk



Mamluk of Egypt
Wikipedia sez, “Over time, mamluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies…In places such as Egypt from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be “true lords”, with social status above freeborn Muslims.[7]” And apparently they controlled Palestine for a while.


Ottoman Turk


Ottoman Turk
Did I mention this is a cartoon? Probably no one went to battle looking like this. But big turbans, rich clothing and jewelry seemed to be in vogue among Ottoman Turkish elites, according to paintings I found on the Internet.




A gross generalization of a generic 19-century “Arab”.



The British formed alliances with Arabs, then occupied Palestine. This cartoon is an oversimplification, and uses this British caricature as a stand-in for Europeans in general.




The British occupied this guy’s land, only to leave it to a vast influx of….

European Jew/Zionist


European Jew/Zionist
Desperate and traumatized survivors of European pogroms and death camps, Jewish Zionist settlers were ready to fight to the death for a place to call home, but…




….so were the people that lived there. Various militarized resistance movements arose in response to Israel: The Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

State of Israel



Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/TerroristState of Israel
Backed by “the West,” especially the US, they got lots of weapons and the only sanctioned nukes in the region.


Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/Terrorist
Sometimes people fight in military uniforms, sometimes they don’t. Creeping up alongside are illicit nukes possibly from Iran or elsewhere in the region. Who’s Next?

Angel of Death




and finally…

The Angel of Death
The real hero of the Old Testament, and right now too.


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1,221 thoughts on “This Land Is Mine”

  1. Almost perfect! Just two repairs: Assyrian should come after Israelite, and a Persian should be between the Babylonian and the first Macedonian.

  2. Excellent depiction of the chronic problem caused by territorial disputes mixed with religion and politics local and international and out of control egos.

  3. Que honda camaradas?? Estes video expresa como a Palestrina lo dejaron en sillas de ruedas y a binnladen sin tunica y aparte boca perdio 3 a 0 con atl de rafaela y bianchi se tiene q ir para mi. Aguante chipre y el pescado da cancer.

  4. I always thought that Saddam Hussein was no different than any other ruler in Mesopotamia in the past 5,000 years.

    Would have helped if Cheney/Rumsfeld had not kicked all Arabists out of the State Department (or had not completely ignored them) — anyone with half a brain could have seen that toppling Saddam would bring civil war and destabilize the region; not to mention that Saddam and Iran kept each other occupied so we didn’t have to.

    Now we have our “ally” Turkey supporting Islamists in Libya, of all things.

    None of this will end well — much as your work predicts.

  5. Holy Land may very well owe its name to the fact of have been irrigated with the blood of countles martyrs!

  6. As a Christian American, I admit not having any knowledge of this history. I would have liked a timeline or some dating on the descriptions above. Great work. No idea how accurate this is, but a great way to inspire research.

    Very good job

  7. i just love your video……it doesn’t matter in what sequence civilizations are appearing……it holds a MUCH GREATER MESSAGE THAN THAT!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Das ist echt ein sehr tolles Filmchen größten Respekt. Absolut minimalstisch aber trotzdem präzise auf den Punkt gebracht.

  9. Great composition in your distinctive style to present a complex story that spans centuries. One question that I had was whether giving both sides in the most modern conflict AK-47 rifles was an artistic decision or a technical one in not having the Israeli side’s arms that would have been distinctive to their forces (M-16s or uzi’s).

    Keep up the excellent and thought provoking compositions with your work!


  10. brilliant. thank you. agree with previous comments- the detail is not the point. The message is bigger than that. Concerning to remind ourselves that a lot of voters in the western democracy that funds Israel today have no idea of the history. Reminder for all to read more about global history. thank you for making this.

  11. The smart message is that whose land is it is a question that makes no sense, and a solution should not be found in inflexible principles of determination of claims to ownership, but rather a pragmatic peaceful solution taking into account the current situation without bias to any narrative of “rights to ownership”.

    Nevertheless, I complain that some “bias” creeped in this blog when Nina talks about the “Palestinians” and says that “The British occupied this guy’s land”.

    So … how ridiculous is that after showing how nobody can really claim ownership … somehow the “Palestinians” are the only ones that can? Where were the Palestinians a 100 years ago? Mostly immigrated from Arab countries following the economic prosperity of the Zionist settlement, many times immigrating illegally and squatting there. Why they are given such a preferential treatment? In addition, Jews that were inhabiting Jerusalem and other towns before WWW2 are not even considered.

    I brief, Nina suffers from unfair bias. I would refer her to her own video.

  12. Nina ridiculizes Jews’ claims. Point taken.

    But why Palestinians claims are any better?

    Or how they compare to a potentian territorial claim by the Indian tribe that successfully emerged in Connecticut with the purpose of starting a tax-exempt casino?

  13. Nina ridiculizes Jews’ claims. Point taken.

    But why Palestinians claims are any better?

    Or how they compare to a potential territorial claim by an Indian tribe in Connecticut?

  14. nina writes:

    “Sometimes people fight in military uniforms, sometimes they don’t.”

    This seems to condone Hamas fighting posing as civilians so that when they are killed they can falsely accuse Israel of killing civilians.

    I want to vorrect Nina’s ignorance of the international law, as stated in the Geneva Convention that parties MUST wear identifying uniforms. Is the law, and not doing so is a war crime.

    Perhaps Nina should have written: People sometimes commit war crimes, sometimes not” next to the Hamas caricature.

    Learn the law in:

  15. After the cave man and the Canaanites (who vanished from the region)Jews are the only ORIGINAL people left who were ALWAYS present during the bloody invasions that for about 3500 years swept their country. They were most of the time oppressed and exploited by the invaders, just like, for instance, the American Indians North, Central and South.
    The only difference is, that regardless where they were forced to live on this planet, mostly persecuted and killed, they kept for 2000 years their faith and will to go back to their millenary country. ¡¡THEY MADE IT!! despite the hatred spilled on them by competing religions that sprang later on from their ground breaking philosophical and moral values.

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  17. This is excellent work, and I use it in my Israel/Palestine and modern Middle East courses at university level as a way humorously to introduce the topics. It is a wonderful parody and endlessly entertaining.

    If you are ever interested in a few tweaks that would make it more historically accurate, here are the things that stand out.

    The “early man” example could, if you like, be labelled Natufian, as that is the name archaeologists give to the first settled culture on the land.

    Canaanites are exactly the same culture as the Phoenicians, so their art would have been a better guide than the Sumerian models used.

    Israelites developed out of Canaanite culture and were there before the Egyptians (who defeated them in the 14th & 13th centuries BCE).

    The one following Assyrians should be Judeans, i.e., the southern kingdom, which under Josiah conquered the northern part after the Assyrians pulled out.

    Persians (of the Achaemenid empire) should follow the Babylonians (which ought to be labelled Chaldeans, actually), as they controlled the region for about three centuries and paid for construction of the Second Temple.

    (Having two for the Macedonians/Greeks is redundant and Persians could easily substitute. I always explain it that way when talking to my students, using the first of your Greek models for the Persians.)

    And Maccabee could be labelled Hasmonean, as that was the ruling dynasty established after that revolt against the Seleucids (the last independent temple state in Jewish history).

  18. Perhaps in the first scene in the cartoon should show a neanderthal death by a man. I suggest first showing a mountain of other dead species by the first cave man.
    The logic behind these problems are the exponential growth. I add this too with a scene with many children born again and again, generation after generation. These problems are universal in time and space, unfortunately. We should only have one or two children per family, THAT IS THE WAY!

  19. I would have added a French soldier of the Napoleonic Wars between the Ottoman Turk and the Arab.

  20. I laughed my head off at this video. Despite the historical imperfections, the point is well made, and shows a better-than-average understanding of history. Hats off!

    But the author seems to hint at a bias to the Hamas. One wonders if she understands the point of her own video.

  21. Hi there. Brilliant cartoon. But I think you missed out the Mongolians, my history texts told me they went all the way to Europe…

  22. The film This Land is Mine by Nina Paley, may have been short but full of geo-political issues. The reason I chose this film to review was because it’s an on-going issue over land in Israel. This fight over land has existed for thousands of years. The land has been conquered by many nations/cultures till this day. The big issue here is why can’t these people live together? That is a question that immediately pops into my head. After doing some investigating I’ve realized there is a lot of generalization going on. The news talks about “they are in a war,” “those people” it seems the general public don’t know how to identify who is who? The news CNN for example generalizes the groups into one saying “the citizens of Israel are in combat with the Palestinians.” These generalizations serve only one purpose to confuse, and avoid misstating information. This is perhaps because the audience might get offended. Why would they get offended? There are many groups of people within that nation that are involved. The main issue here is overall the Middle East why is always in war? After looking at the history of this region, one can immediately tell there is a fight over natural resources. The oil there is precious to the United States. Our nation’s leaders decided to position people like Dictator Husane into power in Iraq. The reasoning behind this decision is simple because he would do business with us. The meddling of the United States in foreign countries for personal interest has lead to political unrest. Did the United States know who that person was? What kind of principals does this man have? Apparently, the United State’s leaders did not care so much to do a thorough investigation on this person (global issues). The Arab nations are in a struggle. This is what I hear most often, information that is very much generalized. From personal investigations I have found out this information. I have talked to refugees from the Middle East, and asked what is going over there. I have spoken with three refugees that went to my high school, and this is their story. In the United States different cultures & religions live peacefully for the most part. Why is that? How do we live at peace with people who different from us? The answer is religious freedom. This amendment with the freedom of speech is so crucial to our understanding of peace. There is peace here, because of the first amendment. As a nation we tolerate and respect other religions/cultures. As long as those religions do not break the law, like murder or stealing, they are accepted. In Iraq and the Middle East this philosophy does not exist. I asked them why did have to leave their country. They said because it was inhabitable there for a Christian. The threats are real they explained. Why is that they resented the Muslim people? The real question is who is living there? The answer is Muslims and Christians. In Iraq, churches, Christian homes, and Christian schools were being bombed. My friend Peter was afraid to go home, because he wasn’t sure if his family would be there. He was worried and afraid they would kill his family too. They have destroyed many Christian homes and property already. It got to the point where it was no longer safe to go to public spaces. He remembered walking home from school, and hearing his friend yell there’s a man outside of the school yard with a weapon in his hand! He and his classmates ran for their lives crying every step of the way home. It was a smoke bomb. These people lived in constant fear of attack. These events started to occur more and more often. The government was no longer in their control, and they resented anyone who was in opposition. The Islamic communities terrorized the Christians living in Iraq for decades, but it started to get worse when the government was changing. They said the majority of the Muslims in Iraq were of the same Islamic sector, but that some were seeking peace. The Shia and Sunnis did not fight each other they just didn’t agree with one another. If they did fight one another it was not as terrorizing as it was with the Christian communities living there. The majority of the Muslim communities there did not want peace they wanted control over the nation. They explained a tradition the Muslim communities would do is draw a sign with a cross and circle over it. They would draw these symbols on all the Christians homes so that other Muslims would know what homes to attack, and which ones were not Muslims. The ACERO foundation is doing all they can to rescue the Assyrian Christians living in Iraq, and we can do something by also donating to this charity. This is not just a charity, but a rescue mission. There are pictures and evidence all in the web of this terrorism. The refugee explained that in the Islamic religion they seek to first convert the people, and then have a government established in that religion, Islam. My friend, a refugee, she explained that these Muslim terrorists would go to the Christian homes, and demand that they be converted or else leave. They explained how could they leave? Where would they go? The Christian homes that decided to fight back and stand their ground were shot immediately and killed. There are images of this type of terrorism in Iraq, and throughout the Middle East on the web. On Facebook, and social media these images can also be found. The people will not stay quiet, and they will share this information with the world to bring into light this conflict. I asked them what they are doing to help the situation in Iraq. They are posting statuses, pictures, and testimonies people need to know what is really going in order to care. A foundation that is aiding refugees to get them out of those countries like Iraq is called ACERO. If you want to help in this crisis do something about it by sharing this information, and donating to help rescue the victims. You can call or go to the website

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