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REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS
Film protests: What explains the anger?
Saturday, September 15, 2012 4:44 AM
Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...
Quote:More than three years ago, President Barack Obama famously told a Cairo audience that "we meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world".
His speech, titled A New Beginning, sought to transcend the acrimony of the Bush era.
This week, as violent protests rage across the Middle East and beyond, the president might ask himself: What went wrong?
The truth is that there is no single explanation.
One answer is that last year's wave of political uprisings, the so-called Arab Spring, is responsible.
After all, protests began in Egypt, which last year became the most populous Arab democracy, and spread to Libya, which became the largest by area.
The Arab Spring did indeed invigorate a range of Islamist movements and weakened the law enforcement capabilities of the affected states.
However, this cannot explain why some of this week's most serious violence took place in Sudan, and other protests in places normally calm, as Qatar.
Additionally, such violence long pre-dates the Arab Spring and frequently took place under dictators, the most prominent examples occurring in the Middle East in 2006 after a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
The second argument is that we are witnessing profound anti-Americanism, dormant for much of last year, fused with religious extremism - with the controversial Innocence of Muslims film merely a trigger.
According to a June 2012 Pew survey, just 15% of those in Muslim countries held a favourable opinion of the United States, compared to 25% in 2009.
Polls indicate that anti-Americanism stems from a variety of grievances, including US policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, American wars in the Middle East, and US backing for friendly dictators.
The irony is that, whereas Barack Obama is sometimes pilloried by critics in the West for naively supporting the revolutions, most Arabs see his actions as too late and too little.
Although Arab ideas about freedom of expression are fundamentally divergent from Western ones - 84% of Egyptians want the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion - there are big generational gaps.
Those under 35 - the generation widely held up as the engine of the Arab Spring - are far less likely to pray several times a day, attend the mosque regularly, or read the Koran daily. They are being catalysed less by religion, and more by politics.
Furthermore, anti-Americanism is not universal.
Despite the widespread xenophobia evident in Egypt, 35% of Egyptians actually want Egypt-US relations to remain as strong as they were before the revolution, and a surprisingly high 20% want them to get even better. Sixty percent of Tunisians say that they like American ideas about democracy.
A Gallup poll this year showed that 54% of Libyans approve of American leadership, near the highest approval ever seen in the region.
Indeed, Libya has seen a series of protests supportive of the US, and against the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
Even where it is widespread, anti-Americanism is simply not a sufficient explanation for outbreaks of violence.
In many cases, protests might have had little energy had local religious and political entrepreneurs, eager to bolster their following and create disorder, not exploited them.
In Khartoum, for instance, local buses were laid on to transport prayer-goers to protest sites.
In Libya, to speak of a protest is misleading. The assault in which US Ambassador Chris Stevens died was probably a co-ordinated, complex undertaking by an organised militant group, perhaps in concert with al-Qaeda's North African affiliate. It represents broader Libyan opinion no more than Anders Breivik did that of Norway.
This wave of violence will have longer-term repercussions.
The US has no legal mechanism to censor the provocative film. American freedom of expression cannot be a subject of compromise for any administration. This means that such triggers for protest will recur, as there is no shortage of provocateurs.
Above all, however, many Americans will rightly or wrongly see this week's protests as indicative of the failure of engagement, not a sign that more is needed.
There will be new pressures for the US to disengage from the Middle East, revert to fortress-style embassies, and accelerate the refocusing of American attention to Asia.
Some will argue that Mr Obama's efforts to temper anti-Americanism were exercises in naivety; others that he went nowhere near far enough.
Either way, the irony is that just as fragile post-revolutionary governments are most in need of assistance to build institutions, small sections of their populations are making that task much harder.
Saturday, September 15, 2012 5:47 AM
Saturday, September 15, 2012 7:07 AM
Quote:...US policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, American wars in the Middle East, and US backing for friendly dictators.
Saturday, September 15, 2012 8:42 AM
"Love is natural and real. But not for you my love. Not tonight my love..."
Saturday, September 15, 2012 9:35 AM
Saturday, September 15, 2012 10:28 AM
Saturday, September 15, 2012 12:23 PM
Saturday, September 15, 2012 4:24 PM
Sunday, September 16, 2012 4:08 AM
I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.
Sunday, September 16, 2012 6:23 AM
Quote:But just as it is here and everywhere, religion is a TOOL
Sunday, September 16, 2012 11:48 AM
Quote:The fall of dictatorships does not guarantee the creation of free societies. There is often a period in which we witness the legacy of tyranny. The Arab uprisings have overthrown tyrants in Egypt and Libya, but the populations and lawmakers have yet to grasp that democracy is not only about free elections but creating free societies.
Arab societies are on a journey. They can easily take the wrong turn. The attacks on the American embassies in Libya, Egypt and Yemen are examples of the ongoing presence of intolerant, tyrannical actors in Arab societies.
These are people who were born and raised in dictatorships. They are accustomed to thinking that a government controls its citizens -- that a film or documentary cannot be produced without government approval. For decades, this has been the reality of their lives, and they strongly believe that the Western world and its citizens have a similarly controlling relationship between individuals and government.
In light of this assumption, they hold the U.S. government responsible for the tacky and distasteful film produced by a right-wing Muslimphobe.
Little wonder, then, that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has called for the prosecution by the U.S government of the filmmakers, and Egypt's top cleric, Mufti Ali Goma, has called on the United Nations to forbid denigration of faiths. Morsy studied in the United States and Ali Goma regularly visits the West on the interfaith circuit, yet both men don't yet grasp that religious freedom and the freedom of expression are inextricably linked in America.
It is hard for younger Arabs not born into freedom to understand how individual liberty works in real life.
The freedom to proselytize also guarantees the right to apostatize. Heresy and blasphemy are essential parts of free and democratic societies. Arab activists cannot seek to emulate the West's political and social achievements by looking at the United States and Europe today, but must observe and learn from the religious battles of 17th-century Europe, the smashing of the tyranny of the Roman Catholic Church, the ending of burning witches and the forbidding of hanging heretics.
It is this history of unbolting the doors of dissent that led to the conditions in which John Locke and John Stuart Mill could write and think freely and then influence Thomas Jefferson and the other U.S. Founding Fathers. There are no shortcuts to freedom, except to learn from the mistakes of the West in the past.
The Arab uprisings are not over yet. They are still unfolding and shaping the future. This culture of shouting and killing those with whom Muslims disagree must end. When the Prophet Mohammed's companions shouted "Allahu Akbar," (meaning "God is Greatest," a popular slogan for those yelling outside embassies today) the prophet reprimanded them saying "Our Lord is not deaf."
The millions of protestors last year in Arab capitals that chanted "hurriyah, karamah, adala ijtima'iyya" or "freedom, dignity and social justice" cannot allow for the emotions of bigots to derail their revolution.
Freedom is not only about majority rule, but ensuring that women, religious minorities and intellectual dissenters are able to flourish without fear. http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/14/opinion/husain-arab-spring-democracy/index.html?iid=article_sidebar
Sunday, September 16, 2012 11:59 AM
Quote:Terry Jones, a Christian pastor based in Florida who has a long history of making incendiary statements about Islam, is promoting "Innocence of Muslims."
Politicians and the media in the Muslim world have also played an important, though perhaps unintended, role in stirring up violence in the wake of a number of these perceived attacks on Islam.
A YouTube video of "Innocence of Muslims" that provoked the Libyan mob to attack the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was initially published in July, but it was not until versions of it dubbed in Arabic appeared online and were broadcast by religious Egyptian news channel al-Nas that protests sprouted in Egypt.
Sunday, September 16, 2012 1:08 PM
Sunday, September 16, 2012 1:45 PM
Quote:WHERE do I start? Perhaps with the viral image that will come to define this episode: a child who'd be three or four hoisting a sign triumphantly above his head blaring ''Behead all those who insult the Prophet'' while a woman, presumably his mother, thinks this is cute enough to capture on her smartphone. Alternatively, I could begin with the observation that the trailer for the anti-Islamic film that ostensibly started this all, Innocence of Muslims, is now a blockbuster, with YouTube hits in the millions thanks largely to the protesters around the world who think nobody should see it.
This is the behaviour of a drunkenly humiliated people: swinging wildly with the hope of landing a blow, any blow, somewhere, anywhere.
No. Let's start with the fact that so few of the protesters who descended on Sydney's CBD this weekend seem actually to have seen the film that so gravely offends them. When asked by journalists, they bluntly admit this, one even adding that she refuses to watch something so offensive. It's almost impressive how cyclical this stupidity is. But it's also instructive. In fact, this is the key to making sense of something so gobsmackingly senseless. The protesters - at least the ones quoted in news reports - know nothing except how offended they are.
That, you see, is all that matters. This isn't about a film. It's about an excuse. We know because we've seen it all before, like when Pakistani protesters vandalised American fast food outlets and burnt effigies of President George W. Bush in response to the Danish cartoons.
We know because so much of the weekend's ranting was nakedly gratuitous: ''Our dead are in paradise, your dead are in hell''. Pardon? Which dead? Weren't we talking about a movie?
This is the behaviour of a drunkenly humiliated people: swinging wildly with the hope of landing a blow, any blow, somewhere, anywhere. There's nothing strategic or calculated about this. It doesn't matter that they are the film's most effective publicists. It doesn't matter that they protest using offensive slogans and signs, while protesting against people's right to offend. It doesn't matter that they object to insulting people on the basis of their religion, while declaring that Christians have no morals. This is baffling only until you realise these protesters are not truly protesting to make a point. The protest is the point.
It feels good. It feels powerful. This is why people yell pointlessly or punch walls when frustrated. It's not instrumental. It doesn't achieve anything directly. But it is catharsis. Outrage and aggression is an intoxicating prospect for the powerless.
Accordingly, it is not an option to leave an insult unanswered because that is a sign of weakness, rather than transcendence.
The irony is that it grants an extraordinary level of power to those doing the offending. It puts them constantly at the centre of your world. That's why, when Gallup polled 35 Muslim majority countries, it found that of all the gripes the Muslim world has against the West, among the most pervasive is the West's ''disrespect for Islam''.
And it is this disrespect that is the overarching grievance that subsumes others. Everything, global and local, can be thrown into this vortex: Swiss minaret bans, French niqab bans, military invasions, drone strikes, racist stereotyping, anti-immigrant politics, and yes, even films so ridiculously bad that, left to their own devices, they would simply lampoon themselves.
This is what gives Innocence of Muslims meaning: not its content, but its context. It's a symbol of contempt, which is why protests against it so quickly turn into an orgy of anti-Americanism. So, ''Obama, Obama, we love Osama'' they scream, mainly because it's the most offensive rhyme they can muster. Osama, too, is a symbol; the most repugnant one in their arsenal. How better to prove you exist than to say something outrageous?
That the Obama administration immediately condemned the film in the strongest terms doesn't register. Nor that the White House took the extraordinary (and ultimately unsuccessful) step of asking Google to pull the video. This is invisible to an audience of humiliated souls waiting desperately to be offended and conflate every grievance. Indeed, they need the offence. It gives them the chance to assert themselves so they can feel whole, righteous even. It's a shortcut to self-worth.
The trouble is that in our digital world, there is always something to oblige. Anyone can Google their prejudices, and there is always enraging news to share with others. Entire online communities gather around the sharing of offensive material and subsequent communal venting. Soon you have a subculture: a sub-community whose very cohesion is based almost exclusively on shared grievance. Then you have an identity that has nothing to say about itself; an identity that holds an entirely impoverished position: that to be defiantly angry is to be.
Frankly, Muslims should find that prospect nothing short of catastrophic. It renders Islamic identity entirely hollow. All pride, all opposition, no substance. ''Like the Incredible Hulk,'' observes Abdal Hakim Murad, a prominent British Islamic scholar, ''ineffectual until provoked.''
Sometimes you need a scandal to demonstrate an underlying disease. And that's the good news here. The vast bulk of Saturday's protesters were peaceful, and Muslim community organisations are lining up to condemn the outbreak of violence. But now a more serious conversation is necessary. One that's not about how we should be speaking out to defend our prophet and ourselves. One that's more about whether we can speak about anything else.
Sunday, September 16, 2012 2:25 PM
Monday, September 17, 2012 4:09 AM
Monday, September 17, 2012 4:53 AM
WASHINGTON—Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened, sources reported Thursday. The image of the Hebrew prophet Moses high-fiving Jesus Christ as both are having their erect penises vigorously masturbated by Ganesha, all while the Hindu deity anally penetrates Buddha with his fist, reportedly went online at 6:45 p.m. EDT, after which not a single bomb threat was made against the organization responsible, nor did the person who created the cartoon go home fearing for his life in any way. Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.
Monday, September 17, 2012 6:57 AM
Monday, September 17, 2012 7:38 AM
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)
Quote:WASHINGTON, DC — Literature being handed out at the Values Voter Summit on Friday attacks women for being “immodest” and extolled them to “go home and put some clothes on!”
In flyers and brochures on display at Values Voters, the social conservative conference where Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan spoke, an organization called Modesty Matters criticized women for dressing “immodestly” at church, and blamed women for causing men to stare lustfully at them.
Women must “embrace MODESTY in dress and behavior,” one of the handouts read. Women dressed immodestly in church are “an insult to a holy God,” another said.
- From the “Modesty: It’s nothing to be ashamed of” pamphlet:“Since men are particularly visual, immodesty in church can trigger lustful thoughts.”
“My men’s bible study group talks frequently about controlling our lust, thoughts, and eyes. Yes the problem and responsibility are ours, but is it really reasonable for the women of the church to make it THIS difficult for us?”
- From the “True Woman Manifesto”: “All women, whether married of single, are to model femininity in their various relationships, by exhibiting a distinctive modesty, responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit.”
The Family Research Council provided Modesty Matters with a table at the conference to distribute these pamphlets.
Republicans have repeatedly voted to cut funding for contraception, outlaw abortions, and defund Planned Parenthood. Now another far-right groups are eyeing a new battleground: the wardrobe.
Quote:"We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country. We will never have the elite, smart people on our side."
Monday, September 17, 2012 9:38 PM
Quote:Originally posted by BYTEMITE:
Also, cave troll, did you really need to post cartoon religious porn on here? Come on. We're going to prove how easily offended Muslims are... By trying to offend each other?
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7:00 AM
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7:31 AM
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7:37 AM
Quote:The recent protests across the Middle East have revived a debate about blasphemy in Islam – how it is defined, and how devout Muslims should respond.
While some Muslims cite the Quran or hadiths – sayings or actions attributed to the prophet Muhammad – as justification for violent retribution, Muslim scholars and analysts alike say there is no clear mandate in Islamic theology for such a response.
Instead, they say, the recent violence reflects societies roiled by power struggles and competing ideologies, in which Muslims are used as pawns for political gain.
"The punishment for blasphemy and even the definition for blasphemy is not in the Quran. There are some hadiths that address it, but it's ambiguous," says Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom in Washington. "So it's very vague and … it's manipulated by those who want to raise a mob and wield power within a society."
In this case, the offending material appears to be an amateurish 14-minute YouTube clip that portrays Muhammad as a bumbling philanderer and child molester who makes up his religion on the fly and incites his followers to unrestrained violence.
The movie clearly was meant to incite a response.
"Sadly, we had idiots on our side take the bait – hook, line, and sinker," says Arsalan Iftikhar, a Muslim commentator and author of "Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era."
"Of course there are going to be a lot of [non-Muslim] right-wingers who are saying Islam is a religion of violence," he adds. He attributes the violence to decades of dictatorial rule with little freedom of speech.
Mustafa Abu Sway, a professor of philosophy and Islamic studies at Al Quds University in Jerusalem, says that in Islam it is not up to individual Muslims to seek retribution.
"Their role is to send out the correct information about the life and teachings of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him," he says.
Nor is it correct according to Islam to take action against any individual for the trespasses of their fellow citizens, says Professor Abu Sway. "Muslims should not blame innocent people and make them pay for the actions of others," he says.
A statement from the Quran, quoted in a 2011 article in the Review of Religions, says, "Let not a people's enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice."
But in some instances, hadiths have been used to justify murder as a punishment for blasphemy, the article continues. One such hadith quotes the prophet Muhammad as saying, "Kill the person who abuses the Prophet and whip the one who abuses his companions."
In Islam, the primary authority is considered to be the Quran, which Muslims believe the prophet Muhammad received from Allah. But hadiths also carry weight in Islamic jurisprudence, and translations and interpretations of both sources can vary widely.
New laws are needed to prevent materials such as the offending YouTube clip from being disseminated, says Abu Sway of Al Quds University.
"It's a moral imperative for Muslims and non-Muslims alike to enact laws that would prevent such actions," he says.
But Ms. Shea, coauthor of the book "Silenced: How Apostasy & Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide," argues that trying to protect all citizens' religious sentiments from offense negates freedom of speech.
Such restrictions also often fail to deliver on promises that they will bring social harmony, she adds, and instead create resentments that people "didn't even know they had."
"It just feeds the sense of outrage," she says. "The societies are constantly roiled by extremists." http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2012/0918/Anti-Muslim-video-What-Muslim-teachings-say-about-retribution-for-blasphemy
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7:40 AM
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7:53 AM
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 8:46 AM
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 8:58 AM
Quote:Originally posted by FREMDFIRMA:
I resent that implication Mikey - Pirates are Anarchists, Stormfront is Fascists.
Say hi to Wulfenwhiner for me if you happen to stop over there, though, preferably with a brick.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 4:30 PM
Saturday, September 22, 2012 11:55 AM
Quote:Surat Al-Nas, or Mankind, is the 114th and last sura, or chapter, of the Qur'an, the Muslim holy book.
Quote:English Translation by Yusuf Ali:.
Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of Mankind,
The King (or Ruler) of Mankind,
The Allah (for judge) of Mankind,
From the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil), who withdraws (after his whisper),
(The same) who whispers into the hearts of Mankind,
Among Jinns and among men.
Saturday, September 22, 2012 3:00 PM
Quote:Originally posted by HKCavalier:
The problem's a little bigger than one man, Whoz. Just a little.
Saturday, September 22, 2012 4:16 PM
Down the centuries you have slurred the meaning of the words, WE THE PEOPLE...
Quote:Originally posted by Hero:
He created a people so full of fear and loathing that they simply cannot find peace in the modern world.
Saturday, September 22, 2012 4:55 PM
Quote:Until we admit the religon of piece is a book of evil. We will be plaqued with this culture in every country they come to.
Saturday, September 22, 2012 9:13 PM
Quote:Originally posted by Hero:
He created a people so full of fear and loathing that they simply cannot find peace in the modern world.
Sunday, September 23, 2012 12:44 AM
Sunday, September 23, 2012 12:58 AM
Sunday, September 23, 2012 5:22 AM
America loves a winner!
Quote:Originally posted by SHINYGOODGUY:
I failed to touch upon the "freedom of speech" issue surrounding the video. Yes, it's been said that the people of the region are not familiar or understand our basic freedoms, in particular the freedom of speech. The Middle East region countries are more accustomed to government-controlled infrastructures and media. They apparently are under the impression that the Obama Administration condones the video's message, and I would venture to say that the factions behind the uprisings exploit that fact as well.
Sunday, September 23, 2012 3:24 PM
Quote:Originally posted by SHINYGOODGUY:
It is systematic.
It is historic and manipulative.
It's years of abuse, avarice and control with little regard for the people of that region, so long as 'we' get ours.
The Obama Administration has little to do with what has transpired in the Middle East over the last several days. This is the product of over 50 years of exploitation.
The video is but a smokescreen that is being used by factions within those countries to incite a violent response for their own agendas.
Sadam, Khadafi and the Shah of Iran, to name a few. Cruel dictators who ruled with an iron fist. All backed, at one time or another by the US, and all ousted by the US (the exception being the Shah of Iran, he was given asylum here in the US). Do you think that the people might remember their lives under the rule of these men?
The Arab Spring was long overdue and US intelligence was well aware of that fact.
"The truth is that there is no single explanation." is absolutely correct Niki. The killing of the ambassador was planned, the video was merely the match that lit the flame, or more correctly stated, just the excuse needed to light the powder keg. As with the Arab Spring of last year, and with the help of the internet, the so-called uprisings have more to it than meets the eye.
Bottom line: Those that were in power in that region, want to regain and keep that power.
Do all the people of those countries hate us? Probably not. It all depends on how they were treated and affected, and by whom.
Monday, September 24, 2012 7:41 AM
Monday, September 24, 2012 7:55 PM
Monday, September 24, 2012 8:11 PM
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 12:19 PM
Quote: But they are the exception rather than the rule, much like we have here.
Thursday, September 27, 2012 4:12 AM
Thursday, September 27, 2012 6:56 AM
Thursday, September 27, 2012 12:41 PM
Thursday, September 27, 2012 2:08 PM
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