I’m sure most of you are aware to some degree about the protests and attacks on US embassies throughout the Middle East and North Africa last week. If you are in the dark a but, it’s all over news sites, and headlining at many of them. You shouldn’t have to look too far online to find anything about it if you so desire.
Basically, there is outrage over a movie some dummy made that mocks Islam and Mohammad. For some reason I cannot fathom it was translated into Arabic recently. Basically people are mad at the US for this film. On Friday there were protests here that started in downtown at the German and British embassies (for reasons most don’t quite understand), successfully setting fire to part of the German embassy. Then the crowd moved out to the US embassy which is, wisely, located just outside of town. Three protesters were killed and the police effectively stopped protesters from breaching the compound.
Though the anti-American sentiment in the air has increased recently I don’t feel unsafe. This morning I was out for a bit and I was ever so slightly concerned that I may be harassed on the bus or something, but it was totally fine. I think it is a good thing that I wear the headscarf when I’m out and about. If I didn’t already I would probably start for at least a little while. I plan on exercising some extra caution in coming days, but since I arrived there is certainly the air that though people may not be so crazy about the US, they don’t have a problem with me personally. This morning there was an email from the embassy saying that all non-emergency government personnel have been departed and the embassy is closed until further notice. Not a problem for me since I have never actually been there and I am not entirely sure where it is.
Now, just a personal word about this video. I’m guessing you may be a little confused as to why people are so furious over a short video on Youtube. I am a little confused too. (This article is helpful in understanding the anger.) I get why people are upset. Of course they have every right to be offended and angry. But, obviously, I don’t think that it warrants protests, and certainly not violence. It seems, perhaps, a convenient excuse to express disdain with the West and the US in particular. I don’t know.
And why are people holding the US government responsible for a movie some ignorant man made? A friend and I were talking about it and she noted the difference in thinking from being from a nation where there is freedom of speech and one where there is not. I read one article that quoted leaders saying that the US needs to punish the filmmakers. From a western perspective that is ludicrous–because we live in countries where you are entitled to your own opinion and entitled to express that opinion; even if it is a stupid one. In this area of the world these freedoms don’t so easily exist. If the government doesn’t support what is being said, it is squelched. So it does make sense that in the eyes of this part of the world, if the government doesn’t squelch it, it must support it. i.e. If the US doesn’t punish these guys, they must actually support them. I could be wrong about this theory, but it makes sense to me.
I have to say that reading some peoples status’s on Facebook and such about the situation in general I’m finding a little infuriating. I understand that my perspective is probably somewhat different than others as a result of my current living situation. However, friends, this is not us vs. “the Muslims” or anything like that. Anyone in this world is as much a child of God as you or I am. So while I don’t support the violence at all, this does not mean that I am in any way superior to another. “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars…Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr. If the anger and hate you see makes you angry and hateful it is just perpetuating the problem. Nothing in the world will get better that way. Sigh. End rant.
A few international schools and another language school are closed today. We’ll see if the anger rises/continues but I doubt anything will happen until next Friday, if at all. Fridays are the days for action it seems. Just please pray for things to calm and anger to settle. I’m not sure what would make this right, as the issues I think are deeper than what they appear. Again, I don’t feel as though I am in any danger. But please pray for this area of the world. The enemy has a strong hold that he is not going to relinquish easily.
I would also just like to note that one year ago on Friday (9/14/11) marked one year since our house fire. This year on 9/14 were those protests. An interesting coincidence to be sure. I think on 9/14 next year I will tread carefully…just in case.