The Innocence of Muslims. Anyone who is even the least bit informed knows what it is all about: a poorly designed stick used to poke a horribly angry hornet’s nest.
If the makers of that film, a certain “Jimmy Israel” and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, should be congratulated for anything, it is their ability to cause a global crisis on a shoestring budget.
Even Salman Rushdie and the Jyllands-Posten editorial staff, real artists in their own right, failed to set off such an unnerving geopolitical firestorm.
But why? Why did a film worthy of a record number of Razzies provoke such seething outrage?
The answer is as simple as it is complex: the Muslim world has become outraged at America’s cheap disregard for both their lives and their way of life; who they hold dear and what they hold dear; those who they love and that which they love.
That day of horror, on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, started with what increasingly looks like a coordinated attack by terrorist elements on the American consulate in Benghazi. This was merely the match that ignited the fire.
After all, the film was dubbed into Arabic on September 8th, three days before the Muslim world erupted into outrage. But the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi served as both a stark wake up call and a reminder to those Muslims fed up with the US: they have the ability to fight back. And boy did they fight back to avenge the humiliation of their people, their land, and their Prophet.
While speech of any kind, no matter how hateful or incendiary, is not worthy of retaliatory murder, a sense of empathy should be wielded.
How would you react to the news of a lynched American ambassador in Benghazi if that very same government had been killing your friends and relatives? You would probably feel like a Yemeni, Pakistani, Afghani or Iraqi.
How would you react to the news of a lynched American ambassador in Benghazi if that very same government had supported a ruthless dictator only two years ago, before throwing their ‘support’ behind the Arab Spring? You would probably feel like an Egyptian or Tunisian.
Thankfully, a vast majority of the Arab and Muslim world disapproved of the vicious murder of American consulate personnel in Benghazi. Who could forget the pictures of the Benghazi counter protest that soon went viral on the internet?
But just as Islamophobes try to paint every Muslim as an IED toting terrorist, it is equally unwise for people to think that Muslims will forever be holding vigils in honor of Christopher Stevens and all those murdered by terrorists.
Public opinion in the Arab and Muslim worlds has consistently sent a dark and ominous message: they do not like us or our government. Despite all of Obama’s rhetoric urging reconciliation with the Muslim world, the Muslims and Arabs of the world see right through that. They know that Obama is just as ruthless and indiscriminate as his predecessor. Why? Because they actually live in the areas where the bombs fall, where the drones roam, and where the puppet dictators rule with an iron fist.
It is my fear that American culture, the only remaining, positive source of soft power (besides science and technology, which Muslims and Arabs alike respect, but science is unwavering) in the Muslim and Arab world may soon be the next casualty. While American music, movies, media and art (except some obvious works) are still received with open arms in that region of the world, here are some disturbing facts from Tripoli, Lebanon: a KFC, Hardee’s and Krispy Kreme were ransacked and torched.
What do KFC, Hardee’s, Krispy Kreme and Innocence of Muslims all have in common? They’re cheap and American.
Muslims and Arabs may soon be treating our institutions and people as we do theirs: with brute force and a complete lack of regard.
Buckle up.Published in