Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Obscure "extremist" film from US preacher (or right-wing extremist) causes violent uproars in Egypt, Libya

Major news media are reporting on major unrest in both Egypt and Libya, over popular indignation over obscure “right wing” film made by pastor Terry Jones, which is said to insult or “hurt the feelings” of Islam.
An American Consulate officer in Libya was killed in the attacks. This is certainly a disturbing development on a 9/11 anniversary. 

David Aristo has a detailed account on CNN here

Russell Goldman of ABC news has an earlier story about the “film” which has, indeed, a very offensive title.  I could not find the film on “imdb.com”.  The ABC news story with the details, however disturbing, is here. I did not find the actual film on YouTube (it might violate TOS) or anywhere else, so I'm not sure how it surfaced in the Middle East.  (Note: Title found, discussed in Sept. 12 post, below.)

In the age of the Internet, a media project that is small and otherwise obscure, sometimes from small interests with little funding or domestic visibility, sometimes may go “viral”, and may attract extreme anger in some cultures where the entire meaning of life is seen in terms of religious or tribal values  -- even in countries that have passed through a cycle of "Arab Spring".  

Hillary Clinton is spoke about this Sept. 12. She said that the violent demonstrators in Libya are a small minority of the entire people. She said there now are four lives lost, and it is not clear what has happened to the remains.

Her remarks will appear shortly at the State Department website at this link.

But later Richard Engel, of NBC News, said that demonstrators were demanding that the US pass laws against publication of media (including directly posting on the Internet) of materials directly offensive to Muhammad.  Of course such laws would obviously violate the U.S. First Amendment.

NBC is also reporting that the video is indeed available (somewhere) and has Arabic subtitles. Again, if it is available, will YouTube or the service provider (whoever) pull it on TOS issues?  My understanding is that it probably would violate most providrs' "acceptable use" policies. (See Sept. 12 post).

Mitt Romney, however, has already spoken out for free speech on the Internet and accused the Obama administration's sentiments as indirectly encouraging protests (as shown in Dnesh D'Souza's film "2016: Obama's America", movies blog, Aug. 29).

The President Obama spoke. He said that the administration is working with the Libyan government to bring to justice those who attacked personnel in the embassy.  He did say he rejects speech that denigrates the religious beliefs of others, but said that this cannot justify violence.

A reporter asked "Is this war?" at the briefing.

The president's remarks will be available very shortly at this White House link.

Wikipedia attribution link for photo map of Libya.

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