TV Times - 12 - 18 July 2008

TV Times - 12 - 18 July 2008

This week's pick examines how the Koran has been used to justify acts of war and terrible suppression, against the wishes of most ordinary Muslims.

Other documentaries examine the role of the Chinese arms trade in funding the massacre of civilians and how the atrocities of the death camps were made known and subsequent political responses.

Sunday 13 July - 8 - 9pm - Channel 5 - Auschwitz - the Great Escape: Revealed
This documentary tells the true story of the daring escape in 1944 by two young Slovak Jews from the concentration camp at Auschwitz. As well as enabling them to survive, the knowledge they provided helped to subsequently save the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews.

Pick of the Week red n black star
Monday 14 July - 8 - 10pm - Channel 4 - The Qur'an
Documentary-maker Antony Thomas excels at making complex and detailed films that cover highly controversial issues without falling into the traps of either scare-mongering or skating around the issues. His "Death of a Princess" made in 1980 about the public execution of a young Saudi Royal for taking a lover evoked outrage. In tonight's film, he attempts to ascertain what Islam's Holy Book actually says about such subjects as equality, punishment, peace, other faiths and suicide bombing. As with most holy books, the paradoxes contained within lead to an extremely wide range of interpretations, and as such can be "used for ultimate grace or as an alibi for appalling acts and beliefs." Thomas interviews those who views span the spectrum of beliefs and from those occupying different places in the social order. Thus powerful imams share airtime with peaceful farmers. Perhaps reassuringly, despite the intolerance and prejudice that Thomas admits permeates most Muslim societies, he finds the majority of Muslims simply wish to be left alone to pray, meaning no harm to anyone, and are devastated at the rise of the fundamentalists, fearing for the future of their faith, "increasingly requisitioned and twisted by joyless religious dictators. "

Monday 14 July - 8.30 - 9pm - BBC1 - Panorama - China's Secret War
Panorama has recently been following the movements of those responsible for the promulgation of the arms trade in China. Evidence is provided that the country is arming the killers of the Sudan in exchange for oil. Throughout Chad and Darfur, the team establishes that Chinese military trucks and guns are being used against civilians.

Friday 18 July - 8 - 9pm - History Channel - Auschwitz: the Forgotten Evidence
An interesting companion piece perhaps to Monday's documentary, this Channel 4 film, originally screened in 2004, tells the story of how, in 1944, British reconnaissance planes inadvertently took detailed shots of Auschwitz. However, they had no context with which to be able to grasp what they were seeing - and perhaps it did not behove them to investigate further at that time. Testimony from survivors fleshes out the story of the genocide the Allies could have tried to stop earlier.