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September 15, 2012

Your 3rd-rate satire is my fighting/killing words, sir.

Multicultural Islam or multicultural anything non-Western: Do not hold your breath. I was in Los Angeles for a day--and by the time I get back the U.S. has deployed armed services people to an astounding number of locations around the world to handle (or deter) the multiplying protests and attacks in the wake of sudden publicity about one of the dumbest films ever made. Outrage over "Innocence of Muslims"--an anti-Islam satire (sort of)--first resulted in the deaths of four Americans in Libya last week. The reaction, however, seems to have legs. According to the French news agency AFP, as of late Saturday GMT, the number of locations where violence has already occurred or is expected to occur by the U.S. State Department is a whopping eighteen (18).

The offending movie--a very bad one from what I can tell from the trailer--was trotted out weeks after it was accessible by one manipulative Egypt-based "tele-Islamist", part-time television host and full-time asshole. So aren't some of these energies born of a pretext by a few firebrands to wage war on the West and gain pawns to carry the ball? Sure they are. But many more Muslims genuinely deeply believe that "insulting" Islam deserves swift punishment. It is the way they think and feel. And most who think and feel that way are not evil humans.

Arab Spring and the new "democracies" now cropping up in Africa and the non-Western world does not mean--and may never mean--that underlying cultures that struggle with building new forms of government and societies are going to "get" or embrace Anglo-American notions of dissent, freedom of the press or the First Amendment. It does not mean that they will buy into these principles, or even appreciate or tolerate them in Westerners, for years or even decades. Those states have not yet been able to reconcile a new form of government with religions that have old, sometimes very old, nuances and rules. It will take a while. We need to get used to that.

In the meantime, what efficient Yankee-styled solution is there, if any? In the short term, there is none. Get used to that, too. But there is an approach. I think it's this: get our heads out of our wazoos and realize, in all our dealings with non-Westerners, that we are wired very differently than them and that they are not "wrong" or evil. They are culturally fundamentally different--and we need to remind each other of that truth. And also take to our hearts and heads what one Western 12-step program likes to say--often unthinkingly but wisely--about time. It is simply that "time takes time".

From "Innocence of Muslims".

Posted by JD Hull at September 15, 2012 08:03 PM


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