This isn’t the blog I said I was going to write, but this one is writing itself.
The “I” in the title refers to you. To all of us. It’s the question each and every one of us should be asking ourselves because many in the Muslim world have declared war on us. Each and every one of us. They’re not saying, “Down with the makers of this horrible, insulting film which hurts my feelings and makes me want to kill someone”. They’re saying, “Down with America”, something that has an all-too-familiar sound coming on the heels of the 11th anniversary of 9/11. But, what did I do?
We can blame the violence on the film, “Innocence of Muslims”. It was blocked before I had the chance to see it, but I can’t remember ever seeing a movie that moved me to acts of violence. Or a cartoon, such as the one published in Sweden’s Jyllands-Posten in 2005. We like to find something or someone to blame. A bad childhood. An abusive father. Video games. Allergies. Whatever. Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” carried some very anti-Semetic overtones, yet no Jew attempted to blow up his house. Not even after his drunken, anti-Semetic rants. You don’t like him, don’t see his movies. Send him a nasty email. Declare war on America? A little over the top. (He was born in America, grew up in Australia, so you could actually declare war on two countries).
Bill Maher’s 2008 “Religulous” spends 102 minutes poking fun at organized religion, God and Jesus. The tittle itself is a combination of the words “religion” and “ridiculous”. The movie was directed by Seinfeld’s Larry Charles, but there were no violent protests and neither man was condemned to death. It was an expression of their beliefs, something we defend here in America, as does our Constitution.
When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, we didn’t agonize over their motivation, we responded, as we should have in kind. Does it really matter why these people have launched a new jihad against us? Or what percentage of the people of each respective country are actually involved in violent protests against us?
Whatever you think of the movie, it was just that; a movie. The attack on 9/11 was real and deadly, but we didn’t declare war on Islam. We went to Afghanistan to hunt down the people responsible. It was an appropriate response at the time.
Interviews with protestors in Cairo reveal that they feel that they are the victims and that their response is appropriate. I would argue that they are mistaken on both accounts. One lady said, “We don’t hurt anybody, why do they hurt us?” She obviously has a situational definition of “hurt”. It seems to be culturally ingrained for some of these folks to justify killing on any scale for real or imaginary sleights. Their values don’t seem to have made it into the 21st Century. Or past the 11th Century.
Their actions beg these questions: Why do we pay them to be our friends when, clearly they aren’t? Why do we risk American lives to defend American values which seem to be anathema to them?
Foreign policy becomes very complicated when dealing with coutries on our payroll, hosting our troops. We need more separation between our borders and theirs. It can’t really make sense to anyone to borrow money from China to send to Pakistan. We need to reconsider our relationships with countries and cultures that will always view us with mistrust and underlying hatred.