Thursday, September 13, 2012

Is it about "Innocence of Muslims?"

Photo from International Business Times, protester at US Consolate in back ground.
As soon as I heard about the attack at U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, the first 30 second news story mentioned an outrage over an American movie.

What movie are they talking about? I asked. I Google searched like the best of them and even top papers were just a saying "a movie" as if facts didn't matter.

And now the story has come out that it's this 14 "film trailer" is for a film called the "Innocence of Muslim" that is understandably inflammatory toward's Muslims, that plays off the most negative theories, facts, rumors, and details of Muhammad, including a physical portrayal of Muhammad which has caused problems before (just ask that Dutch paper who ran into problems in 2005).

Without details of the film, I think it's important from a political perspective that America (and American politicians) firmly support the right to free speech in America.

From a religious perspective, I think it's perfectly appropriate for Muslims (or any other religious group) to express anger/outrage of portrayals of their religion (or religious leaders, prophets, etc) who are misrepresented.

But, I think that the protest (which the White House representatives like to remind us were done by a small group of people) represent a tension in the region between American politics/values and the political/religious climate in North African and Middle Eastern nations.

I think tying the outrage to the YouTube video "The Innocence of Muslims" is a false connection to make, and gives too much emphasis on the YouTube video.

You won't find the movie listed on IMDb, as YouTube videos (no matter how long) typically don't get a legitimate "film credit." In fact, the Washington Post did a nice job breaking down the details of the director, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55 year old financial criminal in California banned from using the computers or the Internet. Najoula apparently claims he did not do the video but it is connected to one of his many alias Sam Bacile (just one of his aliases, others include Nicola Bacily, Robert Bacily and Erwin Salameh).

I feel like what began in Libya just days ago is something big, that we will continue to talk about and be in the news for days, weeks, and maybe even years to come. And this powder keg of a YouTube video may be given more credit that it deserves.

I will continue to contend that freedom of speech is of value. I will also suggest that this is just another example of a situation in recent history where there is a meaningful conversation behind the impact of art on culture, and human lives, including Chris Stevens who was unnecessarily killed, potentially in part to a YouTube video.

1 comment:

Anthony said...

GREAT post. I also don't think it was a coincidence that these attacks and protests happened on 9/11 and two short years after the Arab Spring. This about way more than a "movie."