Soon after publication of my article "They Just Don't Get It!" in the Eurasia Review, a commentator Durand-Even asked: "Of course right minded people will condemn these film makers. Is the writer suggesting that someone in country A doing something evil or offensive entitles people in other countries to kill or injure third parties who have nothing to do with the offenders. What kind of a civilisation is that?"
Here is my response:
What Mr. Durand-Even has failed to understand is the central theme of the above article - freedom is not free; there is a price the society pays for some people's evil. We can't expect all to behave rationally. What may be considered First Amendment in the USA and western world could well be looked upon as a tool of abuse, racism, bigotry and intolerance in other parts of the world. They don't have to live by our rule. There may be some, a very tiny group of Timoth McVeighs, who may take up arms to blow up and undo what they feel was wrong. That is how emotionally charged up they can become. To assume that everyone would behave rationally even in the face of serious abuse is insanity; it is not wisdom by any account.
As we know when the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was attacked by armed rebels, there were other Libyans who fought back and tried to protect and save the life of the diplomats. [See the CNN report from the Consulate Office in Benghazi, shown at 10:33 a.m. EST, USA] No one within the Muslim world is condoning the untimely death of the brilliant diplomat Chris Stevens who was well liked by most Libyans. He simply became an unnecessary casualty of hatred that was sparked by the cyber-terrorist Nakoula and his anti-Muslim crusaders. Without his video release to offend the 1.6 billion Muslims, this tragedy surely could have been avoided. And that is the message I was trying to convey.
There is no denying that a very tiny group of zealots has been trying to bring about a civilization war with the world of Islam. Many in the mainstream politics (esp. within the Republican Party) are sadly part of that evil plan. They have not given up on their imperial dream or fantasy to secure America (and by default the Judeo-Christian West) as the uncontested hyper power for the 21st century. Thus, when these 'freedom terrorists' create the ground for such anti-Muslim and anti-Islam hatred through their hate speeches, books, movies, etc., the funding source and support almost always can be traced back to those evil politicians. As we have noticed with Nazi-era Germany for hatred against an ethnic or religious community to become part of a national agenda, it requires meticulous planning that is concocted over a long period of time with overt or covert support of many actors within a society to prepare that fertile ground for extermination. The intolerance and hatred spewed by many of the politicians in the post-9/11 era has given the necessary boost to pen-pushing anti-Muslim zealots/terrorists to act as Julius Streichers of America.
So, what I was suggesting in my article was that a red line has to be drawn that ensures that freedom of expression is not abused by the likes of Nakoula who only want to start the war of civilizations. These guys are no better than terrorists. And mind that President Obama had no moral qualms about killing al-Awlaki for he considered the views expressed by the American-born Imam of Yemeni parents unacceptable. Did Obama make a mistake in his decision? If not, why a separate formula when it comes to Nakoula? Why protect him when his crime has already led to the death of at least 9 people across the world, including Ambassador Chris?
The bottom line is: we can't have it both ways! It is high time to find a solution to such abuses that are hurled against a major religion whose adherents comprise nearly a quarter of our human race today. The so-called freedom of expression cannot be used as a justification for offending an entire religious community. Funny that when requested Google declined to pull out the offensive video from the YouTube. However, when it came to the topless pictures of the British princess, the same Google had no problem pulling such personal pictures out from its YouTube. What a double standard! It would be stupid to imagine that the Muslim world is unaware of the case; and there are plenty I could cite to show the despicable hypocrisy on such matters.
Finally, to answer Mr. Durand-Even, the offensive movie was made in the USA by a Coptic American, Nakoula, who lives in California. The USA is protecting him under the pretext of the First Amendment. The offended party, which is the entire Muslim world, finds him guilty. So, the comment made by Mr. Durand-Even fails to capture the reality of the entire episode.