Protests pan across the globe

Kathleen Kennedy | The Daily Cougar

It only takes one lapse of judgment to ruin things for everyone. In this case, the lapse of judgment was that of the man who released a video that managed to enrage what seems to be every single Muslim in the world at once.

Protests at U.S. embassies in twenty countries, from London to Sri Lanka and all across Northern Africa, broke out in record numbers Friday, with protestors burning American flags and chanting, “Death to America” or “Allahu akbar,” phrases we haven’t heard seriously in some time. After Friday prayer let out, irate Muslims stormed the streets and set fire to anything American, whether it was a school or the embassy. Anti-American fever was hitting another peak.

These weren’t some isolated extremists. They don’t have a history of violence or drug dealing. These are common, salt-of-the-Earth people, some of who have been highly educated and are righteously indignant about the film, but they are lashing out against the wrong people.

The protestors are attacking, brutalizing and destroying American lives and properties abroad over the actions of an unsanctioned nutcase living in California. The movie itself is highly offensive, but you only need to look at the cast and crew to see how this might not end well. Director Nakoula Bassely Nakoula has had a criminal history of fraud and a film history of producing pornography. Several of the actors in the film, who profess they were duped into performing in a fictional movie and had their lines dubbed over with anti-Islamic rhetoric, were also porn stars.

What was a recipe for a pretty bad snuff film by itself has now managed to put the lives of several Americans at stake, and is something that Nakoula should pay for dearly. He wasn’t expressing his first amendment rights; he wasn’t expressing his opinions or beliefs. The film was purely inflammatory, and did what few YouTube trolls could ever hope to do — put the lives of innocent people at stake.

Nakoula’s guilt in this is a non-issue. He’s the lowest form of human scum and an insult to film and all organized religions. But almost as bad as this film, however, is the Muslim reaction. Not the explosiveness of it, but its direction.

The American government is not in control of the content produced by its citizens, nor was this film a sponsored media. It is, by the sickest form of loopholes, protected by the Constitution, but that same protection also applies to peaceful protests that have stopped similar acts of poor judgement.

The attacks against Americans across the world are unwarranted and senseless violence that do not settle the stereotype New Media has placed in so many people’s heads. I hope that our Muslim brothers and sisters know not all Americans are like that nutcase, just as I hope to remind my friends the Muslims with whom America is at war are their version of the crazy Christian cults we have here at home.

With these protests, however, it seems the case is being harder and harder to make. Twenty American embassies are under siege by people who are unable to understand that though the film was not approved by the government, it must be protected by our government as part of the Constitution. Everyone here hates it as much as they do, but despite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s pleas, and now demands, that the violence must stop.

Here’s a better idea. Afghanistan receives about $10 billion in aid from the government that their people are now currently protesting. Pakistan receives $4.4 billion; Egypt receives $2 billion. The buck stops here and it’s going to stop right now if these governments can’t get their people under control like Egypt has, clearing the area around the embassy and making sure no more violence can occur. A protest is a protest, but what these have been are just violent riots, an excuse exposing an already unsteady trust between Arab nations and the U.S.

But why not go further? It’s obvious that people don’t want us around, that the U.S. just isn’t the world’s poster boy anymore. Anti-American sentiment is high world round, but we continue to station troops to keep public order in countries where mobsters and politicians are one in the same. We continue to pump money into their infrastructure, to invest in them, in the hopes that they will be stable and powerful allies in the future. No more, I say. If that’s the way people feel, then no more America in their country, and no more American money either. We’re in a debt crisis enough as it is, and wasting money on people that hate us isn’t going to help. It’s high time that we take our ball and go home.

James Wang is a history sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].


  • “…chanting, “Death to America” or “Allahu akbar,” phrases we haven’t heard seriously in some time.”

    You have not been listening. After every Friday night sermon in the Middle East and northern Africa and Asia it is common to hear this.

  • “What was a recipe for a pretty bad snuff film by itself has now managed to put the lives of several Americans at stake, and is something that Nakoula should pay for dearly.”

    Wait a minute here, cowboy. This is America. We have laws here. If the director broke any laws then he should be persecuted and tried by a jury of his peers.

    This is not the Middle East where they try people at their whim.

  • “…just as I hope to remind my friends the Muslims with whom America is at war are their version of the crazy Christian cults we have here at home.”

    Here we go with the moral relativism stuff. Buddhism is not Hinduism. Judaism is not Animism, Christianity is not atheism. And Islam is none of the above.

    All religions ARE DIFFERENT.

    Islam was “founded’ (if you will allow me to write this) by a man who made it into history by stealing his way to great wealth, enslaving and selling people, conquering and subjugating others.

    Can I ask a stupid question? Does this man sound like Buddha, Jesus or Moses to anyone?

    Islam IS unique. For those who have spent the time necessary to understand Islam it is clear as day that Islam IS an aggressive religion. It is NOT like Christianity. It does not preach things like “turn the other cheek,” treat your neighbors as you would have them treat you.” etc…

    I get a little tired of hearing about how Islam is little different than Christianity. In Christianity klling others is a sin; in Islam it is often a path to Paradise.

  • James, I like your conclusion. I really do. But if it were only that simple! We’ve ignored Syria because we have learned there is nothing we can do that will help and anything we do do (as you point out) is met with hate.

    The problem is I am reading more and more articles accusing us of ignoring Syria and of how cruel we are for ignoring Syrian. You can’t win.

    That said I do have a suggestion. Why doesn’t Saudi Arabia help Syria instead? They have trillions of dollars in oil money sitting in their banks. They have bought endless billions of our weaponry. They “understand” the Arab mindset while we do not. Why don’t they take the bull by the horns for a change instead of Muslims always crying out for help from America. Let Muslims settle their own problems and let’s see how well that goes for a change.

  • The protests were not over a movie. Is it coincidental that they happened around 9/11? No, the Lybia attacks were planned since way before. Maybe the movie fueled the other attacks, but they wouldn’t had happen if it wasn’t for the first attack.
    Btw, just how you have an opinion about the crew who created this film, so do the creators. You have a right to call them names, but that does not make you better than them.

  • It’s worth noting that in the Arabic language “Allahu Akbar” and other religiously flavored prose is pretty common and can even have secular connotations. I know Chaldean Christians who say “inshallah,” for example.

    Threatening to pull aid to a country with a population greater than California just because a wild mob torched some cars is short-sighted at best, and at worst demonstrates a poor understanding of foreign aid as a tool of foreign policy and international development.

  • @Arafat: “Why doesn’t Saudi Arabia help Syria instead?”

    If this wasn’t tongue-in-cheek then you probably don’t have much room with which to comment on ME affairs.

  • Kathleen Kennedy just drew Mohammed!? Oh god, you’ve done it now! Wait til the Muslim Student Association sees it!

    *ducks for cover*

      • 90% of Egyptians are Muslims.

        Is it so hard to believe that their Prophet would wear their Flag’s symbol as a show of support? (And is clearly thematic, since the girl is dressed in our flag. Get it, flags?)

        I didn’t think so.

        • I’m aware of Egypt’s demographics. How you can infer that the obviously Egyptian character is supposed to be a modern-day incarnation of a 7th century religious leader from modern-day Saudi still eludes me. It’s clearly meant to represent the Egyptian protesters or government, depending on her view.

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