I’ve been to some bad movies in my life. Although, having watched 5 minutes of the 13 minute trailer on YouTube of a movie that has, apparently, set the Arab world on fire even before it is ever premiered, I have to admit, I might not have seen any dumber or less professional.
Many years ago, on a date with my husband, we went to see a Popeye movie. I hated it. My response was made clear to all who were around me – I fell asleep. It was, at the end of the day, a magnificent use of my time and served a far better purpose than watching it. I also watched the Last of the Samurai. The photography was amazing; the endless bloodshed boring. My response was clear – I yawned and waited for it to end.
I’ve walked out of perhaps 3 movies in my life. Not wanting to insult other viewers or disturb them, I waited until the uniquely-Israeli intermission. As others filed back in; I filed out, or, in one case, we complained to the management and were allowed to go into any other movie we wanted.
That is the extent of my life as a movie-goer gone wrong. On those rare occasions when I wanted something differert or was perhaps even insulted by the contents of the movie – I would make myself a promise, usually forgotten, not to waste money seeing that director or that actor again.
I have actually never gone out on a rampage following a movie; never burned a flag, never attacked a US embassy – or any other consulate, restaurant, or, in fact, buildings in general. I have never murdered anyone based on what I saw on a screen – or off the screen, if we are discussing murder.
Out of curiosity following the vicious and barbaric attack on the US Embassy in Libya (and Egypt and Yemen…), I went to YouTube to view the clip. Besides the obvious opinion that it was so pathetically done, is the more incredulous thought that four men were murdered supposedly in the name of this movie?
I can understand anger, even hatred. I have been angry; I have felt such hatred at certain times in my life. And in that instance when the anger rages and the hatred burns, something inside me knows it has to be turned. It will, in the end, do me more harm than the person, people, or action that initiated it.
And that is where the reality comes forward. No one really believes that the Americans in Libya were killed because of a movie – even one that insults their beloved prophet. The true reason likely lies deep in connections to Al Qaida, 9/11 and recent US anti-terrorist activities.
But what I find interesting here is that the motive of the movie was given, and accepted by much of the world. They really believe that we would accept this as the reason. In that, they are correct – they’ve done it before, after all. The Danish cartoon. Salman Rushdie’s writings.
They COULD have killed and rioted, burned flags and buildings because of a 13 minute trailer to a movie, because of a book, because of a cartoon. That this time they didn’t, doesn’t change the culture that could have.
And so, once again we return to the constant discussion – of their culture versus ours. Of their morality versus ours. Of their worshipping death and martyrdom versus our choosing life.
This is the fundamental truth behind the Libya attack and more than that, it says so much about them that we would believe the lie that this is about a movie. We were astounded when they rioted over a cartoon, deeply perplexed at their issuing a death sentence over a book. Their actions have brought about the results. We are no longer shocked that they would murder over a movie.
And so, Al Qaida once again attacked on 9/11 and murdered in the name of Islam and the belief that terror, death and violence bring their own rewards. But this time, we did not believe them, suspecting almost from the start that the claim that they attacked because of an insult to Mohammed in a 13 minute YouTube trailer was bogus. But this time, they managed to fool themselves. This time – the Arabs in Yemen and Egypt and Gaza believed it. And so, though Libya was about murder, the other places are indeed about the intolerance of ideas.
At the end of the day, however, their motives mean little. It isn’t about why they murdered – because that would be to justify terrorism – but that, in the name of their religion, once again, good, innocent people have died and others are being attacked.