Sadly, far too many Americans have forgotten this.
Rioters, not speech, to blame for violence in Egypt, Libya
(By Brian J. Buchanan, Commentary, FirstAmendmentCenter.org, September 12, 2012)
In the United States, if a movie makes people mad enough to riot, we blame the rioters, not the movie. In much of the rest of the world, it’s the other way around. That’s the difference our First Amendment makes. And our government agencies should affirm as much.
That’s why an official statement released yesterday by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, is troubling. A movie called “Innocence of Muslims,” produced in the U.S. by an anti-Muslim filmmaker, has sparked protests in Egypt and Libya, where U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens was killed along with three other Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Before the Libya tragedy, with the U.S. Embassy in Cairo fearing siege by protesters, the embassy posted in apparent reference to the movie a statement on its website that said, in part:
“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. … Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
The embassy statement confuses crucial aspects of the First Amendment.
Yes, “respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy,” but the First Amendment does not outlaw disrespect for religion by individuals. It outlaws actions by government that would establish an official religion or interfere with religious practice. Further, the First Amendment protects the freedom to speak — including the freedom to criticize, condemn or insult any or all religions.
So for an arm of the U.S. government to condemn material that hurts “religious feelings” is itself misplaced. What should be condemned is making speech an excuse for violence.
The Obama administration later disavowed the Cairo embassy statement. And President Barack Obama was a bit more First Amendment-oriented in a statement condemning the rioting and killings: “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”
The film denigrates Islam by portraying Muhammad “as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly ridiculing way, showing him having sex and calling for massacres,” the Associated Press reported. Still, concerning the president’s statement, from a First Amendment standpoint it’s a little off-putting to say that our nation “rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” Denigration is speech. Denigration is nothing compared to the actual violent religious persecution of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Baha’is and others around the world.
No, we can’t expect other cultures around the world to see things as we do. If Muslims think a film insults the Prophet Muhammad, they have every right to be angry. If Christians think artwork in a public museum in the United States insults Christianity, they have every right to be angry.
But we cannot excuse letting anger degenerate into violence, let alone murder, over “religious feelings.”
Quote:Not really. I think a poll would indicate that we value our civil liberties far more than any consideration given to isolated nut jobs like the idiot film maker.Sadly, far too many Americans have forgotten this.
There is an Arab pain and a volatility in the face of judgment by outsiders that stem from a deep and enduring sense of humiliation. A vast chasm separates the poor standing of Arabs in the world today from their history of greatness. In this context, their injured pride is easy to understand.
In the narrative of history transmitted to schoolchildren throughout the Arab world and reinforced by the media, religious scholars and laymen alike, Arabs were favored by divine providence. They had come out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century, carrying Islam from Morocco to faraway Indonesia. In the process, they overran the Byzantine and Persian empires, then crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Iberia, and there they fashioned a brilliant civilization that stood as a rebuke to the intolerance of the European states to the north. Cordoba and Granada were adorned and exalted in the Arab imagination. Andalusia brought together all that the Arabs favored — poetry, glamorous courts, philosophers who debated the great issues of the day.
If Islam’s rise was spectacular, its fall was swift and unsparing. This is the world that the great historian Bernard Lewis explored in his 2002 book “What Went Wrong?” The blessing of God, seen at work in the ascent of the Muslims, now appeared to desert them. The ruling caliphate, with its base in Baghdad, was torn asunder by a Mongol invasion in the 13th century. Soldiers of fortune from the Turkic Steppes sacked cities and left a legacy of military seizures of power that is still the bane of the Arabs. Little remained of their philosophy and literature, and after the Ottoman Turks overran Arab countries to their south in the 16th century, the Arabs seemed to exit history; they were now subjects of others.
The coming of the West to their world brought superior military, administrative and intellectual achievement into their midst — and the outsiders were unsparing in their judgments. They belittled the military prowess of the Arabs, and they were scandalized by the traditional treatment of women and the separation of the sexes that crippled Arab society.
Even as Arabs insist that their defects were inflicted on them by outsiders, they know their weaknesses. Younger Arabs today can be brittle and proud about their culture, yet deeply ashamed of what they see around them. They know that more than 300 million Arabs have fallen to economic stagnation and cultural decline. They know that the standing of Arab states along the measures that matter — political freedom, status of women, economic growth — is low. In the privacy of their own language, in daily chatter on the street, on blogs and in the media, and in works of art and fiction, they probe endlessly what befell them
The coming of the West to their world brought superior military, administrative and intellectual achievement into their midst —
What a way to whitewash Western imperialism in the Middle East which is, after all, the cause of the reactionary violence there against the West.
The black flag of the Islamist Ansar al-Sharia militia continued to flutter over its base in downtown Benghazi, but the garrison was nervous, braced for reprisals after the killing of the US ambassador to Libya on Tuesday night. Many in Benghazi say Sharia played a part in the storming of the US consulate that left four Americans dead.
At the gate of the militia's compound, a bearded commander dressed in black from head to toe said the talk inside was of two US warships that had been deployed off the Libyan coast. "There are two military boats," he said. "Everybody is talking about it. I know they are there, what do I need to do to prove it, swim?"
He refused to give his name or to allow journalists entry. When asked about the death of the ambassador, Chris Stevens, he terminated the interview, ducked back into the base and slammed the gate shut.
Sharia has been blamed for string of recent attacks on western targets, including the destruction of Commonwealth war graves and a rocket attack on the British ambassador in June. The group was formed early in last year's uprising and its members did much of the early fighting that stabilised the frontline in March 2011 when Muammar Gaddafi's forces threatened to capture Benghazi.
is ruled by Omar Al-Bashir, a man who is wanted by the The Hague for war crimes.
and has just announced that it will not allow America to beef up its security with extra marines,
Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940) was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, ... and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.
Quote:I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
**** off an die, Miller.
Yet will still send billions in aid to Eqypt.
Quote:In the United States, if a movie makes people mad enough to riot, we blame the rioters, not the movie. In much of the rest of the world, it’s the other way around. That’s the difference our First Amendment makes. ...
Seems to me that your understanding of NYC history is lacking - big time! Our country had a very mobile country beginning in the sixties, and many moved in and out of NYC. The "history of NYC" is the one that has remained in flux for many decades.
Crime was at its worst in the seventies, and many companies moved out - not only because NYC was expensive, but of its high crime rate.
It took several decades before NYC was considered "safe."