Ross Douthat argues. (He then goes on to argue that the Egyptian embassy's statement was an "apology," exercising the same bloody-minded foolishness that Romney did, but that's besides the point.)
Yes, the US is being used as a bogeyman by right-wing political forces to hold on to power, just as neo-conservatives have used the spectres of communism, immigration, and international terrorism (angry poor people and angry brown people, oh my!) to hijack our government.
Are we seeing the equivalent of the Tea Party sprouting up all over the Middle East? Sure. Are terrorist cells working under cover of the demonstrations? Possibly. Does that change anything? No, not really.
This is for further reading, on why this movie attracted all this attention now instead of when it was actually released.
(It is not intended as an argument or counter-argument for anything, just extra info).
Link in dutch, use translator of your choice.
Quite simply: 10,000 people are protesting against the movie. 10,000. Out of 1,6 billion muslims.
We probably have more news articles on this bloody subject then we have people protesting FFS. Heck, our amounts of football rioters are proportionally higher!
10,000 mate? Hundreds of thousands protested in Beirut alone, 2 days ago. where do you get your news from?
"In a rare public appearance, the leader of the militant Hezbollah group exhorted hundreds of thousands of supporters today to keep up the campaign against an anti-Islam video that has unleashed deadly violence and anger at the US across the Muslim world. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah spoke for about 15 minutes in Beirut before a rapturous, peaceful crowd estimated by police at about 500,000" - Associated Press
The ever prescient Jon Stewart had Salman Rushdie on last night. Good watch. Rushdie made some salient points. Namely, he argued that:
- Just because the man has the right to free speech doesn't mean we can't strongly rebuke him for what he said.
- There appears to be an outrage factory on both sides of the ocean: People whose power are tied up in using whatever they can to direct their constituents' rage against the United States/Pan-Arab Muslims.
- There are people in countries that don't have the same commitment to free speech, and as such don't understand that the American government doesn't necessarily condone the broadcasted comments of its citizens.
Just read one of our (not even marginally successful) far right parties plans to do a public showing of the film. It's an obvious publicity stunt, but as newspaper commenter put it, it's the idiots on both sides handing each other the matches, while the reasonable people are busy trying to put out the fires.
Well Rushdie's points are a bit debatable. The first is self-evident, the second I agree with but the third... I always find it funny talking about free speech in the West, as most of the time, very few people have access to mainstream media in order to voice a their opinion or counter-arguments to government or institutional discourse. There is always the net though but even this is not under our control. I think free speech is more an illusion than reality...
In any case, in my mind this has very little to do with free speech and a lot more with the US and Western foreign policy in the region for the last 3-4 decades. Resentment is brewing, and some leaders use anti-Americanism to muster support for their own political projects, I think. At the same time, I also think there are others who can only find religion as a discourse to articulate their political/social grievances.
Meanwhile, north of the Alps, German socialist Martin Schulz, president of the EU's Parliament, has been criticized by certain sections of the political spectrum who claim he went too far in denouncing the movie in the presence of some Arabian visitors: http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/11504...arlement.dhtml
A much more sensible, in my opinion, reaction was advocated by Ahmed Aboutaleb, the Morocco-born mayor of the second-largest city in the Netherlands Rotterdam, who urged his fellow Muslims to 'laugh it off', echoing the famous statement by Thomas Jefferson that 'ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions'.
Although I can't actually find it anywhere! You quoted from "associated press", but everything I turn up is from a website called newser.com. Can't you quote from say... the New York Times? I can find on my own favorite newspaper that the speech was hold in front of thousands of people (not hundreds of thousands), and being held in front off is not the same as protesting. Or setting stuff on fire.
Also interesting: Henryk Broder writing for Die Welt: http://www.welt.de/kultur/article109...hrhundert.html
In other words: Syrians are writing to Al Jazeera to ask why some video is creating more outrage than the Blutbad, which I suppose can be translated as massacre, in Syria. One wrote: "Dear Muslims, our Prophet is much more insulted by the murderous actions of Assad in Syria than by some disrespectful movie".Da hilft nur eines: Der Besuch in einer Oase der Vernunft, dem arabischen Sender Al-Jazeera. Der meldet, immer mehr Syrer wunderten sich darüber, dass ein Video über Mohammed in der islamischen Welt für mehr Aufregung sorgt als das Blutbad in Syrien. "Liebe Moslems", schreibt ein Leser, "unser Prophet wäre über die Morde, die Assad in Syrien begeht, viel mehr beleidigt als über irgendeinen respektlosen Film".