This week I’m focusing on something that surprises me, something that I had expected would not evolve into the political stumble block that it has become. I’m talking about the short trailer film for “Innocence of Muslims”, which was given an Arabic translation and spread to predominantly Islamic nations just a few days ago. Quite soon there was a public outcry in Libya and Egypt, but I expected something as such to happen. Egypt has a government headed by an Islamist, and Libya has become a grounds for a resurgence of Islamism in the wake of the revolution. Libya has also become increasingly lawless in a similar pattern to Egypt, only quieting down a tad since elections took place. As the protests continued, my suspicions about the seriousness of the problem grew. And then a few days later, I’m reading in the post about Australian Muslims protesting against the film ([link]). It’s around that point I realized just how bad this had become. So I’ve decided to post about the film and the international reaction to it.
Let’s start with what the film is about, shall we? It’s essentially a festival of hatred against Muslims. That’s pretty much as deep as it gets. There is something in there about persecution of Coptic Christians by Egyptian Muslims, but that is kind of forgotten once Muhammad has a one-sided homoerotic conversation with a donkey. Yes, I’m serious, that actually happens. The film also shows the Qur’an being made by Muhammad’s wife Khadija by stringing together verses from the Old and New Testament, and declares Muslims to be greedy savages bent on killing women and children. Not only is the logic behind the film’s argument incredibly scatological and inflammatory, but the film itself is of poorer quality than a 1997 episode of South Park (my apologies to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, they are hilarious in my eyes).
Now let’s review some things. Typically, when you blatantly insult someone’s beliefs just by calling them names and shaming their idols, they resist your behavior. Depending on the person, this can result in a verbal argument or physical violence. Now, when you spread your bigoted rant to millions of people who share the viewpoint you’re mocking, that’s when the problem snowballs. The problem becomes especially hot to the touch when you inflict your hatred on the world’s second largest religion, a religion known to be quite intolerant towards depictions of its prophet. I’d like to know just how ignorant one person would have to be to not predict that something of this magnitude would happen when “Innocence of Muslims” was translated and spread worldwide. I mean really, how stupid could this guy get? Let’s jump back to South Park. South Park had made an episode in which they intended to show Muhammad dressed in a bear suit (he could not be seen at all). Parker and Stone were promptly threatened by an extremist ([link]), so the bear suit was entirely censored. If South Park can’t get away with Muhammad in a bear suit, then nobody can get anyway with Muhammad saying gay things to a donkey. This should be an absolutely accepted fact of modern society, and a fact that should be followed without serious issues cropping up. You don’t show major disrespect for large religions, and people don’t die. End of discussion.
But it appears the time to tell Nakoula Basseley not to produce the film has passed, and the damage has been done. So once again, it is time for the United States to play damage control. Poorly, as always. But then again, I can’t really blame Obama for not being able to control the protests that have occurred in response to the film. Once religious, nationalistic and hateful anger has been awakened in millions of people, fanning the flames becomes increasingly difficult.
And to qualify my beliefs on the issue, I do not condone any forms of violence committed by protesters. Senseless violence and destruction are just that; senseless. I especially condemn any protesters whom feel it necessary to kill innocent Americans in “righteous fury.” To those protesting, I simply ask you not to charge American embassies. Feel free to protest outside all you like. But in pretty much all cases, those embassies have done naught to defame Islam or hurt you in any way. I realize they act as a proxy for America; but we cannot be destroyed. We are an enormous nation, both in population and geographic size. We also have the single largest economy, a massive military and unquestionable influence in international politics. We won’t be falling out completely for a while, and torching a few buildings won’t get us any closer to that end.
However, there are definitely many forms of protest I welcome. Feel free to create posters as you please, and stand before American embassies in anger. Show what you believe in legal, non-violent means. Show us your message; ingrain it upon us. Perhaps we’ll finally learn something. There is one more form of protest that, just this once, I’ll accept easily. Normally, I don’t like seeing the American flag burned. I don’t like our history very much at all, but that’s no reason to light our image in flames indiscriminately. I get the whole anger against what we’ve done and what we still do; my posts in the past show that in abundance. But to burn a national symbol for millions is something I just don’t like seeing; it shows no respect for our positive sides, few though they may be. However, I would fight to the death for your freedom to do so. And in this one case, I’m giving any true Muslim who believes in the Shahada Creed a pass to burn the flag if they truly must.
Let me explain why I would allow this. I can guarantee you anyone would say that our society, our country is not to blame for this film. They would say it is the action of a lone bigot, and should be treated as such. This is wrong. In a broad sense, it is correct; each individual is not entirely to blame for this abomination. But we as a society have made this kind of thing more and more acceptable in recent years. Sure, I’m betting no decent American would condone this film. But I’d also wager that a nation with more Nazis than modern Germany is not completely innocent in this matter. Ever since the tragic events of September 11th years ago, there has been much accepted racism in America. It became much easier to say that you hated foreigners. It became much easier to say that you hated Hispanic immigrants. And of course, it became much easier to say that you hated Muslims. We are at fault because we did little to stop this; we started wars with predominantly Muslim countries, and made American nationalism increasingly tolerated to a boiling point. Things only got worse during the 2008 campaign, when many accused Obama of being a secret Muslim. Seriously, even if he was a Muslim that shouldn’t have mattered. Boo-hoo, someone who thinks differently than you got elected. That’s what happens in a democracy; get over it. Obama isn’t even a Muslim anyway; he’s a Christian, and that’s why the White House had a Christmas tree this year as it always has.
My point is this: we might not support this kind of thing as a nation, but we haven’t exactly done all we ever could to stop it. We have fostered a culture of fear and consumption, and it is this culture which breeds the hatred we see in this film. And then it just spreads, inciting riots. Can we really expect anything different of such an event? And can we really expect true followers of Islam to not blame us for allowing something such as this? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spews all sorts of lies about Jews and America, and despite not holding any real power in Iran, we jump all over his remarks like bees to flowers. We are no better; while we rarely display real violence towards our objects of distaste, when we do the situations are devastating ([link]).
That is all, and I hope I have made my ideas and points cogent and clear. If you have feedback of any kind, I urge you to comment here; it is my easiest form of reliable and speedy contact. I also check my email at email@example.com several times daily, so feel free to email me. Once again, I can be contacted through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Steam if necessary. Good night, and this is KnoFear, signing off.