Thursday, September 13, 2012
This is Libya
It's easy to remember that not too long ago, the people of Benghazi were praising the actions of the American military, as well as those of our own Canadian military and air force, because we lent a needed hand to those fighting for their freedom from the dictator Mohammar Ghaddafi.
Over the past week, of course, we've seen this horrible attacks on American personnel, including the death of the US Ambassador to Libya, a man who worked to free Libya. These attacks and protests have now spread to Egypt, Yemen, and may be creeping into other Muslim nations in the area.
Why? Over an ignorant and downright disgusting video that you can see here, because why not? We in this country, as well as the US, have freedom of speech and we can view and say what we want, no matter how horrible it actually is. In Libya and other Muslim-majority nations, you don't have that kind of freedom, and that's a fact. Religion in these countries directly counters freedoms. If you don't like that fact, then please continue living in bliss. But, it is also besides the point right now.
Not everyone has been saying this, and even the media - that being Canadian and the American media I watch (CNN, MSNBC) - have been pretty good at avoiding it, but the fact is, in the back of everyone's mind, we're thinking of how ungrateful these people must be to ask and take our support in one instance, then kill an ambassador and many others in another. What level of cognitive dissonance do you need in order to do this?
But its very easy to forget that the actions we're seeing on TV right now are not the actions of an entire country. Most Libyans aren't involved in the murder of Christopher Stevens. Most Egyptians aren't in Tahrir Square ripping up American flags. Most Yemenis aren't chanting "death to America." Whether most of them agree, I don't know; but I do know most aren't calling for violence, or willing to advocate it.
Like the picture above illustrates, there are people over there that are saying they don't want a part in this mindless violence, driven by the hatred of people who have taken the teachings of Islam far too seriously. I won't pretend that the Koran is the most peaceful book on the planet, but I do know that it presents both faces of human nature; the violent emotions, and the reasonable ones. Most Muslims follow the latter, while these kids and these criminals, and yes these terrorists, choose to ignore the balance and offer up only angry and hatred.
So when you are at the water cooler, remember the difference. Remember that its complicated. Remember that 10 Libyans died defending the US embassy, as well. Try not to give into blind hatred and dismissal, as some of these people have.