Thursday, September 13, 2012

On The Libyan Embassy Murders and Egypt Demonstrations

This is a difficult topic.  After I've read through the available material I'm filled with a dry despair, like sandpaper on very tired eyes.

That despair has to do with the impossibility of communicating across the immense cultural chasms and with the ability of some people to take advantage of this.  The latter might include Al Qaeda in the sense of being the killers in Tripoli and, in a much smaller but self-centered way,  Willard Romney in the United States, who decided to play president before he is one (goddess forbid), giving a cheerful press conference on this very topic, putting his silver-shod hoof straight into that cultural chasm, too.

What's behind all this?  A film made by some obscure group in the United States:

New information is emerging over the origins of an anti-Islamic video which is at the centre of violent anti-American protests in Egypt and Libya.
A film was shot in the US, and was shown at a small cinema in Hollywood at the end of June. But it is the clips posted to YouTube, translated into Arabic, which appear to have sparked these protests.
The video first appeared online on 1 July, posted in English by someone using the pseudonym "sambacile."
It was very badly made and cheaply produced, with poor acting and little in the way of storyline.
The most offensive comments about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad had been quite obviously dubbed onto the soundtrack afterwards and not spoken by the actors.
One actress featured in the film said she had no idea it would be used for anti-Islamic propaganda and condemned it.
Cindy Lee Garcia, from Bakersfield in California, was quoted by the website Gawker saying she had a small role in the film which she was told would be called Desert Warriors, about life in Egypt 2,000 years ago.
She threatened to sue the director for the way the actors were represented.
Questions asked
In fact a film called The Innocence of Bin Laden was shown at a small independent cinema on Hollywood Boulevard called the Vine Theatre on 30 June this year.
Someone present, who asked not to be identified, said it lasted about an hour, had very poor production values and attracted just a handful of viewers in the two showings that evening.

Get it?  A poorly made video shown only to a small number of viewers.  Then clips of it are put on YouTube, translated into Arabic and possibly enhanced with more offensive comments.

It's hard not to put on a tinfoil helmet and wonder who did that and to what purpose.  But I won't go there.

The consequences?  Protests and demonstrations.  And more are expected:

In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood called for a million-man march on Sept. 14 to protest the video. Under Islam, any depiction or representation of the prophet is deemed blasphemous and ridiculing him is even more serious.
The protests cast a new spotlight on Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt after the election of President Mohamed Mursi, who came from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood. After clashes between Muslims and Christians in the months following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak last year, Mursi’s government has repeatedly said it will represent all Egyptians.
The U.S. must take a “firm stand” against the producers of the film and act in line with international accords that “criminalize actions that create sectarian strife” on the basis of race, color or religion, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil told reporters yesterday, reading from a government statement.

Whether any of this was behind the murder of four people at the American Embassy in Tripoli is unclear.  It's looking more likely that Al Qaeda at least exploited the opportunity to run an assassination under the cover of the video protests.   On 9/11.

Then about the minor problem of one Mitt Romney.  His speedy press conference didn't go down well.  That's the general judgement, from both sides of the political aisle.  Besides, one is not supposed to gloat during national emergencies.  Or, I might add, to show utter ignorance about that cultural chasm I referred to.

After glancing through this post I almost erased those references to how I feel.  They are self-centered and stupid and I'm not important.  But I left them in because I think so many others feel the same way:  Exhausted from trying to make some sort of a difference and disappointed when seeing how easy those tinder boxes are to light.

Others decide when there will be wars and violence, others decide the arenas in which we might die, others (on both sides) play with us as if we were pawns in some important chess game.  Right now my pawn has been left in the box but that may change whenever the players so decide.