(This is another recent post I wrote for my DAMMM website)
One needed response that the U.S. should offer to the firestorms erupting in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bangladesh and other predominately Muslim countries is to arrest the Los Angeles filmmakers of The Innocence of Muslims for violation of the Hate Crimes Laws, as well as fraud perpetrated against the actors used in it. This is an obvious response. But first…
Our prayers and deep condolences go out to the families, friends and colleagues of the four Americans who died this week at the American Embassy in Libya. Sudden, violent and unexpected deaths such as these are always the hardest for those of us left behind. It is the least attractive way to learn, again, and be reminded, that love itself does not die.
The fiery uprising in Libya that resulted in that vicious bombing and gun battle was a continuation of the horrors unleashed by ingrained cultural ignorance and superstition, not only in the Middle East but right here in Middle Street, Any City, USA. For example:
“How could this happen in a country we helped liberate in a city we helped save from destruction,” asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. What? How could this have happened? As if she didn’t know. Violence always— always—only perpetrates more violence. Less than a week earlier, Naji Barakat, the Health Minister of Libya’s National Transitional Council conceded that at least 30,000 people had been killed in the U.S. supported “war of liberation,” with another 50,000 wounded. Might there be some hard feelings about this violence still simmering?
And what might touch off— reignite— those hard feelings? The Innocence of Muslims is a low-budget, hate-filled, anti-Muslim screed put together by a few right-wing Christian extremists who produced it to further their own political and financial interests while mouthing ancient and ignorant bigotry, prejudice and religious intolerance. In the processes of making the film they lied to the mostly un-paid actors, dubbed in voice-overs for the script and hid the true intent of the production. Relative to Islam, it would be as if a film was made by Muslims extremists depicting Jesus as a greedy war hawk congressman taking bribes from lobbyists while diddling his interns. Although absolutely no truth to such a portrayal, such a film might make some Christians uneasy.
Added to the film’s blatant, intentional blasphemy is the fact that in Islam there’s a long, admittedly somewhat superstitious tradition that any portrayal of the Prophet, be it good, bad or indifferent, is a crime against the faith. So to make this film—even if it were to portray Mohammed in respectful, glowing terms, which is certainly did not — was poking at a hornet’s nest. To make such an ignorant, hate-filled, intentionally provocative and dishonest film aimed at a particular religious group easily falls under both Federal and State “Hate Crimes Acts.”
So the U.S. government should start by arresting the filmmakers and charging them under hate-crime statutes. And then, for good measure, the U.S. government should renounce all further violent intervention in foreign affairs. Rather than sending more Marines to Tripoli, and two new aircraft carriers to the surrounding waters — which is the current response — we should immediately begin pull out of all U.S. armed services.That’s only if we want to take steps toward lasting peace in the Middle East.
It’s a new millennium. Time for a new approach to foreign affairs, outgrowing the cave-man military response to every incident. Maybe somebody could make a movie…
Let’s get to know each other . . .
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