A lot is going wrong with the world today. This makes it no different from any other era, regrettably. This week, an American ambassador, and reputedly a good all around dude, and three of his fellows were blowed the fuck up by some Islamic extremists in Libya because the extremists were offended by a video that was posted on YouTube.
That’s a crying shame for many reasons. I haven’t seen the video because I don’t want to give the makers any more attention, but I’ve heard excerpts and it’s awful. I don’t necessarily mean awful because the prophet Mohammed was depicted in it, which goes against Islamic law, but awful in the artistic sense. It’s full of the worst acting I’ve witnessed, even worse than C-grade horror movies, and it’s very intention is to sling hatred. We could go off on a tangent here about the merits of art. Is it art if it’s sole intention is to serve as hate-filled propaganda? Whatever you think on the subject of artistic license, the fact is, the video is awful.
But that’s not the point. The point is that it all boils down to religion. Again. Religious intolerance is responsible for yet more senseless killings. Shocking, I know. Some religious dudes didn’t like the way their religion was portrayed by a handful of idiotic Americans and decided, quite ridiculously, to kill some people who weren’t even remotely responsible and quite probably hadn’t even seen the offending spectacle as retaliation for the insult. “You have offended me, sir. Rather than demanding recompense from you, I shall quite rightly kill some other dudes who are completely innocent and ignorant of your slight in another country simply because they were popped out of vaginas within the same arbitrary, imaginary, man-made regional boundaries as you. That sounds fair.”
It’s even more fundamental than religion though. It goes beyond belief into fear-mongering territory. It speaks to that niggling little voice some people acquire that says, “This person is different from you.” Some humans, like myself, don’t listen to that voice because we realize that no matter what beliefs we hold, we humans are all the same. There are no differences on an intrinsic level. We are all Homo sapiens, and as such, we all share the same eternal struggle against time and space. Some people are incapable of seeing the big picture though. They get so mired down in prophet Mohammeds and show me your birth certificate that all they see are the differences between us.
I read in the news yesterday that the American Civil Liberties Union is defending the Klu Klux Klan. Again. A lot of people are upset by this. I am no fan of the KKK. I think they spew that same blind hatred I was just talking about in the previous paragraph. That said, good for the ACLU. They are not so much defending the KKK as they are defending all Americans’ right to freedom of speech. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with that speech or not; we, as Americans, have the right to voice our opinions.
The same goes for that terrible video on YouTube. Whether you agree or not, as Americans, they have the right to say whatever they choose to say. As an American who is staunchly in favor of that First Amendment right, even though I disagree with that kind of hate mongering, even though I think the people who made it are seriously off base and in need of acting lessons, I will defend their right to say it. Because if we deny their right to make atrocious YouTube videos and the KKK’s right to blindly hate colors, we are assailing all of our rights.
As a citizen of the world lucky enough to be born inside an arbitrary, imaginary, man-made regional boundary with freedom of speech, I really can’t understand the viewpoint of some extremists in Libya. Still, I say, I am terribly sorry that you were offended by some hack Americans’ video. Really, no matter how much I disagree with anyone’s beliefs, I firmly believe that you, even as non-Americans, should have the right to say and believe whatever you want. However, that does not give you the right to kill bystanders because they happen to be from the same country as the offenders. Killing people because of an insult should not be a viable option. You have offended me by implying that I don’t have the right to free speech. You have offended me by killing American citizens simply because you didn’t agree with them.
To me, this goes without saying, but there are many people who are very fond of using gigantic brushstrokes and the last thing we need is more blind hatred: I speak here only to those responsible for the senseless killing. The extremist nutjob segment is very, very small in comparison to the overall population of Muslims. It’s as small or smaller than the overall extremist nutjob population of the United States. Most Muslims abhor violent reactions. There is nothing in their holy book about an eye for an eye. Most Muslims are peaceful and are as disgusted by spiteful murder in the name of religion as I am.
So, citizens of the world, as one lone American born with the inalienable right to free speech, I say, we are all humans and as such, we all share the same genetic structure, regardless of our viewpoints. I implore you to stop all this futile violence perpetrated in the name of our differences and to really take a good hard look at our similarities because there are many.