Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Update to Lessons for 9/11: Violence AFTER Provocation

On the 11th anniversary of 9/11, I wrote about the stupid Terry Jones in Florida who provoked international incidents of violence through his bigotry, hatred, and ignorance.

Terry Jones claimed he didn't hate Muslims, he just wanted to show them how horrible THEIR religion was.

For the record Islam itself is not hateful, any more than Judaism or Christianity is hateful; they are all three Abrahamic religions with the same root theology.  What can be hateful is the way that different cultures incorporate their own traditions so as to use the religion to legitimize them.

We did that with the South using the Bible to legitimize slavery, including beating and killing slaves, as well as to legitimize using Blacks as slaves (something the Bible never did, but the 'mark of Ham', which has never been specified or clarified was claimed about black people as one theory of Biblical legitimization.)  If you don't believe that religion and culture are both manipulated for other reasons, just think on this - Christmas shouldn't be celebrated in Decemember; the historic timing should be celebrated in APRIL.

We have Judaism using texts that are incorporated into the Christian Bible to legitimize marrying off girls after they turn 3 years and one day old.

And of course we have our own more modern national use of lies about people to invade Iraq, resulting in the destabilization of a region, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, with many, many more being wounded and left in rubble and poverty.

The idiot Jones made an incredibly insulting movie at a time when there is great volatility in the region that includes Egypt and Libya.  That provocation resulted in the deaths of our ambassador to Libya and three staffers to the embassy.  Less harm occurred in Egypt, but the embassy there was still stormed and damaged, and people could have been hurt or killed.  In Libya, Jones appears to have undone all the international good will that we should have had, the political capital in international terms, to improve our relationship and standing with the people of that region for having helped overthrow Quadaffi.

Of course, we also SUPPORTED and helped Quadaffi MAINTAIN that brutal and corrupt dictatorship for many years, including supplying him the means to engage in crimes against his people - as we did for a time with Saddam Hussein in Iraq.  It's not as if these people do not have some legitimate complaints against the United States for our foreign policy in the past.  When I hear Romney complain about Obama apologizing for the U.S. in foreign countries, I cannot help but wonder how he and other Christian right wing nuts justify NOT apologizing for things we have done wrong that contributed to hurting and killing people.  It doesn't seem the correct thing to do to NOT apologize when we are wrong - but in any case it is one more lie about Obama, who has NOT apologized on behalf of the United States, but who has admitted we have made mistakes and done things that are wrong. An apology goes further than that admission.  NOT admitting the reality of history doesn't UNDO that reality, it is only adding dishonesty to other errors.

A comment directed specifically to Terry Jones: The question is sometimes asked "what would Jesus do?".  The answer is not what you do, Terry Jones; not insulting other religions, not behaving violently, and not carrying a gun inside your church and brandishing it about.  The answer of what Jesus would do is clearly something you don't understand or practice. You are a vile man. You represent the worst of right wing thinking.

Here is the report on the embassy attack in Libya from Reuters:

WRAPUP 1-U.S. ambassador to Libya killed in Benghazi attack

Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:49pm IST

* U.S. condemns assault on Benghazi mission
* Many Muslims deem any depiction of Prophet an insult

* Egyptian protesters included soccer fans, Islamists

* Gunmen assault Libyan consulate

By Tamim Elyan and Omar al-Mosmari

BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on their car, a Libyan official said, as they were rushed from a consular building stormed by militants denouncing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad.

Gunmen had attacked and burned the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, a centre of last year's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, late on Tuesday evening, killing one U.S. consular official. The building was evacuated.

The Libyan official said the ambassador, Christopher Stevens, was being driven from the consulate building to a safer location when gunmen opened fire.

"The American ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," the official in Benghazi told Reuters.

There was no immediate comment from the State Department in Washington. U.S. ambassadors in such volatile countries are accompanied by tight security, usually travelling in well-protected convoys. Security officials will be considering whether the two attacks were coordinated.

Libyan deputy prime minister Mustafa Abu Shagour condemned the killing of the U.S. diplomats as a cowardly act.

The consular official had died after clashes between Libyan security forces and Islamist militants around the consulate building. Looters raided the empty compound and some onlookers took pictures after calm returned.

In neighbouring Egypt, demonstrators had torn down an American flag and burned it during the protest. Some tried to raise a black flag with the words "There is no God but God, and Mohammad is his messenger", a Reuters witness said.


U.S. pastor Terry Jones, who had inflamed anger in the Muslim world in 2010 with plans to burn the Koran, said he had promoted "Innocence of Muslims", which U.S. media said was produced by an Israeli-American property developer; but clips of another film called "Mohammad, Prophet of Muslims", had been circulating for weeks before the protest.

That film portrayed Mohammad as a fool, a philanderer and a religious fake. In one clip posted on YouTube Mohammad was shown in a sexual act with a woman.

Jones, a pastor in Florida whose latest stunt fell on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, triggered riots in Afghanistan in 2010 with his threat to burn the Koran.

Many Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet offensive and any depiction of him can cause outbursts of anger in the Islamic world and among Muslims in Europe.

Libya's interim government has struggled to impose its authority on a myriad of armed groups that have refused to lay down their weapons and often take the law into their own hands.

It was clearly overwhelmed by Tuesday night's attack on the consulate that preceded the assault on the ambassador.

"The Libyan security forces came under heavy fire and we were not prepared for the intensity of the attack," said Abdel-Monem Al-Hurr, spokesman for Libya's Supreme Security Committee.

In Benghazi, unidentified men had shot at the consulate buildings, while others threw handmade bombs into the compound, setting off small explosions.


On Wednesday morning, the compound stood empty, with passers-by freely walking in to take a look at the damage.

Walls were charred and a small fire burned inside one of the buildings. A small group of men was trying to extinguish the flames and three security men briefly surveyed the scene.

A Reuters reporter saw chairs, table and food lying alongside empty shells. Some blood stains could also be seen in front of one of the buildings. Three cars were torched.

The crowd of around 2,000 protesters in Cairo was a mixture of Islamists and teenage soccer fans known for fighting police and who played a part in the revolt that toppled Egypt's leader Hosni Mubarak last year.

The fortress-like U.S. mission is near Tahrir Square, where Egypt's uprising began and the scene of many protests since. Youths danced and chanted football songs. A Reuters reporter said they appeared to climb into the embassy compound almost as an afterthought.

"We sacrificed dozens and hundreds during the uprising for our dignity. The Prophet's dignity is more important to us and we are ready to sacrifice millions," said mosque preacher Mohamed Abu Gabal who joined the protest.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a statement late on Tuesday, confirmed the death of the U.S. consular diplomat in Libya, who was not identified, and condemned the attack there; but she made no mention of an attack on the Ambassador's car.

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