Assist. Opinion Editor
In the digital age where everyone is connected by the vast span of the Internet, it is almost impossible not to be insulted on a daily basis in some way. Whether it’s a meme calling the president a Nazi or simply an ignorant blogger or Facebook user spouting off a grossly inaccurate and upsetting post, touchy subjects are everywhere.
Last Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, violent protests erupted at the U.S. embassy in Egypt and the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya due to outrage over a video called “Innocence of Muslims.” It was produced by an Egyptian-American with a criminal background. Violence ensued in Libya when a military-style attack resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Although officials believe the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was actually a pre-planned terrorist attack, the protest provided the perfect cover for militants to set up and murder innocent people.
Over the last week, protests have continued to spread across the Middle East, all said to be linked to fury stemming from the insulting video depicting the prophet Mohamed as a womanizer and an idiot. From Tunisia and Turkey to Pakistan and Lebanon, crowds have appeared to chant messages of revenge, burn American flags, and take potshots at embassy workers.
“Those responsible for the film, starting with the U.S., must be held accountable,” warned Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah.
Is the picture grim enough yet?
Where was it reported that every person in the U.S. contributed money and support to the filming of the piece of trash that our country is currently being blamed for producing? When did the U.S. government contract a convicted criminal to produce a cheaply-shot youtube quality video trashing Mohamed? When did it become ok to murder innocent people and threaten Jihad because of the actions of one unremarkable and ignorant asshole? I’m confused.
Here is a news flash for every follower of any religion on this planet. If you haven’t found out by now, your religion has and will be mocked and made fun of on the Internet. Even if you have no faith, you will be attacked. It’s just the nature of people. We can’t be content with the contentment of others.
How many movies and documentaries have been made trashing Christianity? Many. Did murders break out across the Bible Belt the day after Bill Maher’s film Religulous hit theaters? No. Did Bill Maher have to be protected by Marines? No. Why is that? Could it be because Christians are used to persecution? Perhaps. Because Americans value freedom of speech and ranges of opinions? I don’t think so. Or is it because its simply not sane to murder, threaten death, and burn flags in effigy over the opinion (however ignorant or insane) of another person.
I understand that the United States has a mixed reputation in the Middle East. We are (rightly or wrongly) viewed as conquerors, imperialists, and warmongers by some. By others we may be seen as liberators or protectors. That’s a debate I’ll avoid.
If these protests really stem from a deeper dissatisfaction with Western intervention in the region, then it’s more understandable. Their leaders should come out and say that. However, the answer to this dissatisfaction is not violence.
Perhaps the world would benefit from a try at diplomacy for once. I’m sure the millions of innocent civilians in the region would appreciate not having to die in more unnecessary wars. And we Americans have better things to do here at home than spend billions more dollars on Vietnam sequels.
So let us keep in mind as we progress into this abysmal mess, that the acts of one person do not signify the thoughts of a nation. That just as we deal with minor irritations calmly and rationally, so too must we deal with insults (both intentional and not) no matter how personal and upsetting.
The world needs to grow up.