Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Sue Gardner of Wikimedia

And the “Muhammad Film” Trailer hit the huge market of embittered spirits…

The killing of US ambassador in Benghazi (Libya) might be the synergy of three main events:

1. The projection of “Muhammad Film” on Youtube

2. The ‘anniversary’ of Sept.11/2001

3. The US drone-killing of Al Qaeda leader Al Libi several years ago.  Al Libi was Libyan and his main objective was the toppling of the regime of Qadhafi…

Switch Al Libi with any of these Al Qaeda leaders, or semi-leaders or potential leaders, killed by drones such as Al Jazaeri, al Tunisy, al Sury, al Iraqi, al Yamani, al Sudany, al Soumali, al Filipini, al Indonisy, al Afghani, al Pakistany… and the US embassies in these countries are liable to be targets of violent reactions…

The other violent manifestations in front of several US embassies around the world are connected to all or one of the above causes, and these mass demonstrations might escalate even further, unless Obama:

1. publicly apologize for the reckless showing of a movie that has nothing to do with freedom of religion,

2. and publicly declare that the decision to resuming drone assassination was laid to rest. Killing radical Moslems leaders just exacerbates the radicalization of the Moslem world…and increases the followers of Al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia brand of obscurantist Wahhabi sect…

These Cow-Boy US reactions that rely solely on killing, mass destruction…from afar, are generating the same kinds of violent reactions to these “cowardly” missile launching tactics…which are killing more civilians and children than “terrorist” fighters…

This letter by the US Catholic priest Doug May, who claims to be the only US-born Catholic priest in Egypt, was sent as a link via Andrew Bossone on Facebook:

“As the only U.S.-Born Catholic priest in Egypt, who has spent 20 of the last 35 years living and working in the Middle East, I feel the need to comment on the Youtube Muhammad film trailer that Muslims see as mocking prophet Muhammad.

While many Christians and secularists might say: “What’s the big deal?”, there are many Christians who were very upset with films like “The Life of Brian” in the late 1970s, “The Last Temptation” in the late 1980s and “Priest” in the mid 1990s.  

To be honest, my own personal philosophy is that “If you can’t laugh at it, it’s not worth dying for”.  I’ve watched all three above films many times and have even preached on them.  During a retreat I participated in 2006, I read the Da Vinci Code as “challenging reading” that raised questions and made me reflect while many Christians condemned it and preached against it.

However, as with many Christians and Jews, many Muslims do not feel their religion nor their religious prophets are things one can joke about and mock.

After spending 18 of the last 30 years in Egypt, I am not a romantic when it comes to the realities of religious intolerance, social discrimination and sectarian violence experienced by many Christians due to religious fanatics who claim to be Christian, Jewish or Muslim.

I have overheard various “men of religion” refer to Christians using the religious “M” word, “mushrik” meaning polytheists and idolaters or “K” word “kafer” meaning infidel.  I’ve heard it all and seen a lot.

While two wrongs never make a right, Christians of most denominations should never fail to recall the violence, discrimination and persecution we have been guilty of during our own 2,000-year history “in the name of God and Jesus Christ”.

I cannot speak for Muslims outside of Egypt, but I can try to explain the reactions of many to such a film without equating these reasons to being justifications.

Most Americans get quite upset when we watch the American flag being burned or trampled on.  We at least get upset if someone desecrated the Bible and Catholics get very upset if someone desecrated the Eucharist.

Maybe we don’t burn those who do or torture them anymore, but we have in the past.  We claim to be “one nation under God with liberty and justice for all” and yet we have always found at least one race, nationality, religion or orientation to focus on and “go after”.

Western societies that profess “freedom of religion” have moved toward “freedom FROM religion”.  Personally, even as a Catholic priest, I feel that “religion” in civil democracies have the obligation to form and educate the individual and collective conscience of its followers and to be “a voice of conscience” in society.

However, I oppose any religion dictating to government how it should legislate morality according to any particular religious belief system.  At the same time, this is NOT the current reality in the Muslim world whether I/we like it or not.  Cultural sensitivity must include religious and social sensitivity.

In our world of “political correctness”, it is generally no longer acceptable to make fun of or ridicule people of color, women, gays, Jews, Catholics, Hispanics, Poles, Italians, Germans, etc.

Yet it is still “open season” to depict Arabs as “rag heads” and Muslims as “terrorists”.

Prophet Muhammad in Islam is forbidden to be “imaged” in any way, except with his face covered so adverse are Muslims to any image of God or any person for fear that the image itself might be worshipped.

Photos of family members and political leaders have invaded most non-religious spaces in Arab-Muslim countries as they are seen as distinct from religious images.

Therefore, depicting Muhammad in pictures, whether “moving” or not, is forbidden.  To depict Muhammad as a sex-crazed, simpleton simply goes too far.

Before coming to the Arab-Muslim world for the first time in 1977, could I laugh at this film watching Muhammad look like a fool?  Probably yes, just as I laughed at Jesus and John the Baptist in The Life of Brian.

However, as a priest, would I feel free to “juggle” the “Body and Blood of Christ” at the altar during Mass as if I were performing in a circus act?  NO!  It just isn’t done!  If I was short of toilet paper, would I resort to tearing out pages of the Hebrew or Christian scriptures in a time of need?   NO!  It just isn’t done.  So, is burning the Koran, desecrating the Koran and insulting Muhammad OK?  NO!  It just isn’t done by anyone who is aware and sensitive to Muslims and respectful of Islam.

Would I possibly defend the “theoretical right” to do such a thing?  Probably yes, just as I would defend the theoretical right to defecate on the American flag.

However, rights come with responsibilities to respect others, their rights and their sensitivities.  I have never been afraid to question, challenge and disagree with religious and political ideologies and their representatives, but I try to do so with some respect.

This film is a classic example of “going too far” while hiding behind the concept of “freedom of speech” and hiding under the rock of “unadulterated bigotry”.  It also places local Christians in the terrible situation of “guilt by association”.

Either unintentionally out of pure ignorance and stupidity OR intentionally out of an expressed desire to be inflammatory and incite violence, the makers and distributors of this film are as guilty of a crime as the demonstrators who have resorted to unjustified violence and killing in defense of Islam and Muhammad.

If motive and premeditation can be proven, I would challenge the U.S, government to arrest and convict the makers and distributors of this film.  I would suggest that Muslims along with moderate Christians and Jews take the film makers and distributors to court and sue them for “inciting violence” if such a cause exists in civil law.

Once again, I have heard it all and seen a lot in terms Muslim attitudes and acts against Christian and other minorities living in the Arab-Muslim world.  I know many of the experiences of those living in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and North Africa.

I am not defending bigots and fanatics among Arabs and Muslims any more than I would defend bigots and fanatics among Christians or Jews. My focus here is to openly attack and condemn the bigots and bigotry involved in the production and distribution of this film whether they be Christian, Jewish or secular.

It is time to say “enough is enough”.  I say “enough” and you should too.

Note 1: If it is true that a few societies are moving away from religion, I’ll the first to apply for citizenship…Unfortunately, no society structure finds it economically beneficial  to do away with religion and religious clerics…Money surplus is tightly linked to the level of mind-slaved classes, mortgaging this life for a stupid fictitious after-life…

Note 2: On the drone attacks: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/us-drone-assassination-attempts-revisited-by-sue-gardner-of-wikimedia/

US Drone assassination attempts: Revisited by Sue Gardner of Wikimedia

Sue Gardner, executive director of Wikimedia, revisited and updated information on drone usage, policies, and mechanism of preemptive wars…

Sue wrote: “The United States government has made a series of attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan since 2004 using drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities Division.[3] 

These attacks are part of the United States’ war on the Arab and Muslim world campaign, seeking to create more armed opponents of the US in order to further fuel the cycle of violence that justifies the existence of the US military industrial complex.[3] 

Most of these attacks are on targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Northwest Pakistan. These strikes have increased substantially under the Presidency of Barack Obama.[4][5] 

A few media refer to the series of attacks as a “drone war.”[6][7]

Pakistan’s government publicly condemns these attacks, but has secretly shared intelligence with the United States[8] and also allegedly allowed the drones to operate from Shamsi Airfield in Pakistan.  In April 21, 2011, over 150 Americans left the base.[9]

According to secret diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks, Pakistan’s Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani not only tacitly agreed to the drone flights, but in 2008 requested Americans to increase them.[10] However, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik said: “drone missiles cause collateral damage. A few militants are killed, but the majority of victims are innocent citizens.”[11] 

The strikes are often linked to Anti-American sentiment in Pakistan and the growing questionability of the scope and extent of CIA activities in Pakistan. Reports of the number of militants versus civilian casualties differ.[12] 

Daniel L. Byman from the Brookings Institution suggests that drone strikes may kill “10 or so civilians” for every militant killed.[13] In contrast, the New America Foundation has estimated that 80 percent of those killed in the attacks were militants.[14] The Pakistani military has stated that most of those killed were hardcore Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.[15] The CIA believes that the strikes conducted since May 2010 have killed over 600 militants and have not caused any civilian fatalities, a claim that experts disputed and have called absurd.[12]

Based on extensive research, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that between 391 – 780 civilians were killed out of a total of between 1,658 and 2,597 and that 160 children are reported among the deaths.[16][17] The British human rights group Reprieve is threatening litigation to oppose U.S. drone strikes.[18]

Note 1: List of Taliban fatality reports in Pakistan

 

 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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