Friday May 24, 2013
How A Hate-Driven Anti-Muslim Film Led to the Death of Four U.S. DiplomatsJames Wall Salem-News.com
The AP found that Nakoula had both Coptic and evangelical Christian associates in the shooting of the film.
(CHICAGO) - Leave it to Juan Cole to come up with just the right metaphor to interpret the events in Libya and Egypt this week.
Cole knows the Middle East and he has the writing skills to clarify the complexities of the region and how they interact with U.S. politics as they unfold.
Cole is a public intellectual, prominent blogger (Informed Comment) and essayist. He is also the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.
After reflecting on the chaotic series of events that began with a clumsy, fraudulent YouTube preview of an anti-Muslim film produced in California, Cole offered “the butterfly effect” as the metaphor which explains how a small film led to the deaths of four U.S. diplomats in Libya, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.
Cole begins his blog posting:
Cole’s butterfly metaphor begins this narrative describing the death of four U.S. diplomats, with a man initially known as “Sam Bacile”, who claimed to have directed the film, The Innocence of Muslims. The Associated Press traced the history of this “Sam Bacile”, and discovered that he most likely does not exist. The false name is a persona used by a convicted Coptic Egyptian fraudster, Nakoula Bassely Nakoula.
The AP found that Nakoula had both Coptic and evangelical Christian associates in the shooting of the film. One of his associates was Steve Klein, who is, as Cole explains,”a former Marine and current extremist Christian who has helped train militiamen in California churches and has led ‘protests outside abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques.’”
Cole suspects “that most of the Egyptian Copts involved are converts to American-style fundamentalism”. The Egyptian Coptic church has roundly condemned the film.
Nor is this the first time that western anti-Islam sub-cultures have found ways to attack Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
In a perceptive analysis of the effects of the trailer (apparently no one has even seen a longer version, which suggests it does not exist) for the hate-driven film on the politics of the Middle East and of the U.S. presidential race, the Cairo-based English-language web site, Ahram Online, made the connection between the dregs of western culture and the impact these dregs make on Islam. Al-Ahram Online is published by Al-Ahram Establishment, Egypt’s largest news organization.
Chief Editor of Ahram Online, Hani Shukrallah, wrote after the Egypt and Libya uprisings:
Republican candidate Mitt Romney has refused to back down from his initial reaction to the attacks on U.S. embassies. In his immediate response to the news, Romney attacked President Obama for “apologizing” for what Romney termed, “American values”.
This stubborn refusal by Romney suggests that he is locked into a playbook of the U.S. Christian right wing, no matter how much the main stream media scolds him for making political comments at the time of an international event that led to the death, in Libya, of the U.S. ambassador and three other staff members. Which leads to the further suspicion that this Romney is not his father’s son in neither political sagacity nor the ability to exercise national leadership at home or abroad.
President Obama responded to the attacks by pledging that “justice will be done”. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described those responsible for the death of four Americans as “a small and savage group”. Obama also said the U.S. would cooperate with Libyan officials in bringing the members of that “small and savage group” to justice.
The Washington Post has reported that “senior U.S. officials and Middle East analysts raised questions Wednesday about the motivation for the Benghazi attack, noting that it involved the use of a rocket-propelled grenade and followed an al-Qaeda call to avenge the death of a senior Libyan member of the terrorist network.”
The uprisings were apparently also timed to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary. Advance planning, which U.S. officials are assuming, should help in the search for those responsible for attacking the U.S. Benghazi consulate. The deadly attack, according to Libyan officials, may have been planned to operate under the cover of citizens’ protests.
In Tripoli, Libya’s capital, the Libya Herald reported:
To return to Juan Cole’s analysis, the “butterfly effect” began with the appearance of an insignificant movie preview in California, which was ignored by everyone until the film was translated into Arabic and put on YouTube.
Immediately, social media had the expected impact the makers of the film intended. The insult to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad reached a world audience.
After tracing in considerable detail his analysis of the journey of the initial flapping of the butterfly wings to the death of four U.S. diplomats, Juan Cole offered this word of hope:
In less than two months, American voters will have their moment to choose between two visions of how to respond when “violence and extremism” strikes.
Please visit Jim's Website, Wall Writings
Journalism was Jim Wall’s undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. An ordained United Methodist clergy person; he and his wife, Mary Eleanor, are the parents of three sons, and the grandparents of four grandchildren. They live in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. While serving with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years, starting in 1972. Time magazine wrote about the new editor, who arrived at the Christian Century determined to turn the magazine into a hard-hitting news publication. The inspiration for Wall Writings comes from that mindset and from many other sources that have influenced Jim’s writings over the years, including politics, cinema, media, American culture, and the political struggles in the Middle East. Jim has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. You can write to Jim Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Jim's Website: Wall Writings
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