Now Is the Time for Anger

By David T. Jones on October 19, 2012

Washington, DC - Americans are now reaping the results of the “Arab spring.”  The out-with-the-old; in-with-the new upheavals in 2011 were supposed to demonstrate a surge of democracy, human rights, personal freedoms, and liberties akin to those in Eastern Europe, following the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of Soviet tyranny in 1991.  Commensurate, albeit ancillary, was the expectation that the United States, the “shining city on a hill,” as the exemplar of democracy and human rights, would be appropriately appreciated by these flower children of spring.  It would be the culmination of the Middle East “reset” epitomized by President Obama’s Cairo doctrine speech in June 2009, emphasizing U.S. respect and appreciation for Islam.

However instead of a flower garden we have an unforgiving landscape of noxious weeds.  And there is little likelihood that we can apply Agent Orange, plow them under, and reseed.  They are more likely to mutate into even more dangerous vegetation than to grow flowers. 

If for a generation, we managed and manipulated with varied success a set of under-perfumed villains (notably Ghadaffi), old-line dictators (Mubarak) and family kleptocrats (Tunisia, Syria) it was not the worst of worlds.  Perhaps we could not have prevented the system from being “broken” but all our enthusiastic cheerleading has not led to a “fixed” system.  And perhaps there is more breakage pending (Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Bahrain) where current rulers are certainly nervous if not terrified over the future.

At a Washington lecture earlier this month, one panel member noted Muslims/Islam regards the West, despite U.S./Canada being multi/multi societies, as having no/no right to comment on ANYTHING associated with the Islam/faith.  It is not our thing, and we have absolutely no standing to remark on/critique it regardless of what its adherents may say/profess/do within Islamic circles.  This differed, the panelist said, from our "right" to oppose/resist/comment/critique Marxist-Leninism globally as Marx/Lenin were of the "West" and hence we could comment, criticize, critique, etc.  So the content of the film trailer The Innocence of Muslims is essentially irrelevant.  A Muslim doesn’t need to see it, and its amateurish, barely “PG” trivia is beside the point.  Simply because we have addressed Islamic attributes/personalities justifies any level of furry.

But they will not accord Western religion and culture similar respect.  Muslims believe they are unalterably correct--and they have the right, indeed, the duty to proselytize relentlessly against all others.  This may be an extreme personal interpretation, but you do not hear vigorous, public counter commentary by Muslims to the effect that all faiths are worthy, that Islam should be subject to doctrinal and historical examination, etc.  To take such a position leaves a Muslim vulnerable to blasphemy accusations which are highly dangerous, often stimulating either personal attacks/murder or legal charges.  Where there is push back from committed Christians or other religions, e.g., in Africa and South Asia, there is bloody conflict. 

Thus we have a stack of dead diplomats, a crawfishing USG diplomatic reaction half-heartedly defending First Amendment free speech while full-throatedly apologizing for the offensive nature of the film.  This circumstance is beyond embarrassing; it is pathetic—and while it may placate momentarily, its basic proposition that we are in error is self-defeating. 

Likewise, Innocence of Muslims – the puerile little item that ostensibly prompted this frenzy, is a feeble film that wouldn’t win a high school film festival.  However, it should get wide distribution—Americans should see how trivial an action produces violence—and decide whether we are going to censor our lives to accommodate those who just hate our existence.

We need to seize control of the situation.  We must end cringing apologies.  We must consider blunt retaliation for the savagery inflicted on our citizens and coreligionists.  There is a perhaps apocryphal tale from Cold War days:  Muslim pirates were seizing ships/oil tankers off the Angola coast.  A Soviet special forces team lay in wait for them and, upon being attacked, killed the pirates, decapitated them, and stuffed the heads in pig carcasses.  No further problem with pirates.  

There is a lesson here worthy of consideration.



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