I think the problem we have in these big civilisation debates is that most of us do not know or do not want to acknowledge our histories. Ages of empire are glossed over, romanticised or glorified, in both the east and west. Brutality, transgression, oppression: there is no room for these in our image of ourselves. On all sides, we hold the other accountable for their past and present wrongs, but refuse to acknowledge the crimes of those we champion. We have planks in our eyes, which are covered with blinkers, while our heads are buried in the sand.