Current: Uproar in Egypt and Libya over anti-Islamic film, American diplomats targets of rage

12 Sep

Seeing EASky is being made to help better understand Arabic and Middle Eastern cultures, discussing US-Middle Eastern relations seems the obvious thing to do. For me personally our relations is what intrigued me with Middle Eastern culture in the first place. Breaking out on Sept. 11, 2012, was an uproar of anger from protesters in Egypt and Libya over an anti-Islamic film that was made in the US. This film, which I have not yet seeked out to watch, belittles the Prophet Muhammad and has enraged Muslims in the region. What the US State Department fears is that this anger, and backlash (at the wrong people) will spread throughout the Middle East and to other Muslim populations.

Its been reported that one American diplomat was killed as protesters in Benghazi, Libya scaled the walls of the embassy where shots and explosives were set off, among the protesters were a radical Islamic group Ansar al-Sharia. Guns, rocket propelled grenades, looting, and lastly a fire that destroyed most of the consulate after the 3 hour protest and ambush. In the height of the ambush in Cario Egypt, the American flag was taken down, and replaced by a black Islamic flag.  The irony of these attacks and the 11th anniversary of 9/11,  for some depends on if these protests were or were not coordinated.

My thoughts, starting with the attack of the US Embassy, is that it a true shame and sign of disrespect. Not only that Americans were attacked and one murdered, but that they were diplomats. Now I understand that as diplomats they are representative of the US, but as diplomats they are interested in peace. Personally I don’t think any Embassy in any country should ever be attack, I see them as one of the few political reminders (after the wars, arguments over oil, blame, cultural misunderstandings and disputes) that we as humans do hope for peace someday. Every country and every person is on this Earth, and as of the 21st Century there isn’t the moon to opt-out quite yet. As diplomats are representative of the US, this anti-Islamic garbage that was made by an ignorant and intolerant group of people within the US is NOT. What is unfortunate, is that the very consulates that were threatened, attacked, and one murdered, is that they are perhaps the most tolerant Americans as they are willing to live in a foreign country, culture, and language for the sake of good will.

With the attacks aimed at the nearest Americans and symbol of US culture and politics, I want to know why this film was perceived as an American ideal rather then a group of peoples ignorant opinion. What exactly did this film say or portray about Americans? Parts of it were translated into Arabic and posted on Youtube, which is how the message was received in Egypt and Libya. On Youtube I once came across a VERY offensive video about the “Alarming spread of Islam”, if the video wasn’t offensive enough the comments posted below supporting the video were just disgusting. Have people seen similar comments on the particular anti-Islam video in question?

A topic I will later devote an entire post to, is how this is being understand and acted on in the US. Are people especially mad because of the salt in the would of 9/11? How do Americans understand the actions and reactions of the Middle East. To be frank, some Americans have a foul stereotype of bomb throwing men in the desert. Reading how this news was presented by CNN and Huffingtonpost, there are phrases both appropriate to the situation and ones questionable. It seems that Middle Eastern news coverage and media has developed certain vocabulary and phrases, that seem to be especially attached and exclusive to Middle Eastern events. The Huffingtonpost article mentions “bombs going off” and “ultraconservative Muslims”. As I said some appropriate, some also questionable..Read the article for yourself and see if you can find any examples. HUffingtonpost’s article seemed more interpretive, and I found CNNs more report-ive, as it talks mostly about what Hillary Clinton said and the State Dept’s next actions.

Lastly, I am curious how this film and the events of today mean for future cooperation from Egypt and Libya, especially with leaders of both countries having been taken out of position. Will this sentiment towards Americans dissipate? Will Americans sentiment grow with anger?

This national breaking news is sure to have political correspondents running and debating for the days to come. My hopes are that this remains an isolated, terrible misdirection. Apologies be made, and arriving at an understanding on both sides.




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