Thursday, September 13, 2012

Egypt, and Freedom


Diplomacy can be a tricky thing, especially when dealing with a fledgling democracies like Egypt and Libya.

On the one hand, we marvel at the stupidity of the Egyptian and Libyan populace. They have rioted outside the American Embassy in Cairo, costing the lives of several Americans, including a key diplomat. And why? Apparently over little more than a homemade movie made in the U.S. which insults Mohammed. I've seen it. It’s nothing but a stupid, little YouTube video, badly made, and hideously acted. I've seen better amateur porno flicks. But even if this movie were a major Hollywood production (it’s clearly not), and even if it had wide distribution (it really doesn't), it would still be none of Egypt's or Libya's business. And even if it were their business, it would still be nothing more than an exercise in freedom of speech. The movie insults Mohammed? Too bad. That's the price you pay for freedom. Welcome to the club.

On the other hand, we've been just as stupid as they are currently being. Only two and one third centuries ago, the whole world was still ruled by despotic monarchs. America tried its bold experiment in democracy and freedom of religion, but no sooner did we enact such freedom than we stupidly tried to subvert it and/or throw it away. Catholics and Episcopalians nearly took over and destroyed religious freedom right at the onset, and Thomas Jefferson had to write a letter to the desperately troubled Danbury Baptists, telling them that the Constitution had what amounted to a “separation of church and state” (which is where the phrase came from), and that they should therefore keep fighting for their rights. It worked, and religious freedom now rests securely protected by a secular government (more or less). But even today, we struggle with well-meaning fools who want to destroy our religious freedom. During the Civil War, we nearly tore ourselves apart because half our nation wanted to cling to racism and slavery of fellow humans. We engaged in wholesale slaughter and land-theft of aboriginal Americans (Indians) on a grand scale. In other European countries, the mistakes were just as bad. France had its revolution and threw out King Louie XVI, and immediately abandoned their hard-won freedom by crowning Napoleon. Russia overthrew its monarch, only to watch Communism collapse into Fascism. Germany and Italy threw out their hopes for democracy out in a similar way with the Nazi Party. Even Greece, the very cradle of democracy, suffered under a military junta during the 1960's. We only just outgrew these mistakes a few decades ago! We have been anything but perfect.

Now it's Egypt's turn to make mistakes.

Our response to the riots and the unrest in Egypt and Libya has been carefully phrased, and well delivered. It reminded the people of Egypt and Libya that all but a paltry few of America’s citizens condemns such silly movies as the one which caused all this backlash. It sought to calm the outrage while at the same time including a reminder that freedom of speech is a universal right – one which was obviously abused. It was a good response.

Mitt Romney immediately attacked it, criticizing the Obama administration for sympathizing those who waged the attacks rather than condemning them.

Oh, brother!

I really can’t emphasize exactly how big a fuck-up this is on Romney’s part. You see, the best way to ruin Egypt’s young democracy (and Libya’s) is to further antagonize its people toward America.  If Egyptians see the U.S. as the enemy of its faith, then America, and its democratic values, become the enemy too. Egypt will then fall into Theocratic Fascism, just like Iran did following the fall of the Shah, and that would be disastrous for the Middle East and the world, but most importantly for the people of Egypt.

In other words, Mitt Romney is doing exactly the opposite of what he, and all of America, needs to do. He is putting a barrier between Egypt and democracy, and all so that he can merely criticize any little thing Obama does in a doomed effort to win the presidency. He would rather subvert a desperate attempt for freedom in the world’s oldest civilization, and see the tens of millions of people who live in it suffer generations of oppression, rather than see Obama get a mere four more years.

What an asshole!

If we multiply this incompetence by only half a dozen other countries, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and China, we begin to realize just what a cluster-fuck this CEO with no diplomatic experience would be. He still sees the world as his Mormon mission, and is as unable to relate to them as he is to the average American.

Okay, to be fair, it looks as though the stupid video was nothing more than a pretext, used as an excuse by Al-Quaeda and its affiliates to create unrest while it goes and kills American diplomats and international workers. Talk about a cheap shot! But before we excuse Romney's colossal fuck-up in response, we should ask ourselves why Al-Quaeda would want to do this. Why would the terrorists want Obama out and want a Republican in?

Why, because they want America to go off half-cocked, that's why! They want more wars! They want U.S. troops to come over to their lands so that they don't have to bother with expensive travel and visas in order to kill us. They want us to attack so that they, the fundamentalists, can ignite total Jihad and unite all Islam under the single-banner of bashing Uncle Sam.


Meals on wheels.


They also want our government to spend itself to death through the military, just like the Soviets did.

We've tried cowboy-diplomacy before. We’ve also tried bull-in-china-shop diplomacy before. But that is the last thing Egypt and Libya need right now, if they are to have any chance at accepting the democratic values we value so dearly. It's also the last thing WE need, because we have our own economy to look to, and besides, we're completely out of war-money. This whole thing is a ruse designed to trick us into having us commit troops where they don't belong - in harm's way. Fuck that!

As if we needed another reason not to vote for Romney.

Obama is speaking softly, and the big stick he carries is kept well hidden. Mitt Romney, by contrast, speaks loudly, and he IS the big stick. Dipstick, that is. Stick-in-the-mud. Or stick-figure when it comes to detailing his economic plan.

That having been said, somebody does need to set diplomacy aside a little bit and condemn a lot of what is happening out there. I am pleased to do so. This is the Sacred Cow Wursthaus, after all!

First, let me condemn the media. Not one media outlet has reported the name of the video which started all this shit. I suppose they think they are trying to keep a bad situation from getting worse. But you simply can’t keep people from being curious about the movie that way! I certainly found the video easily enough without their help. Besides, the people of Egypt and Libya should feel the sharp sting of knowing that their stupid riots are doing nothing more than popularizing this video! They should all realize that their rioting, not the movie itself, is this movie’s primary advertising department! It is responsible for making this insult to Mohammed as big and as wide as possible! Al-Jazeera needs to issue a special announcement telling all rioters to go home immediately for exactly that reason! But no, the media won’t even mention the name. Of all the lily-livered, yellow-backed, chicken-shit crap! You spineless jellyfish! Not only should the media be including the video’s name, but they should re-publish all the Danish cartoons which insulted Mohammed as part of a background piece! Let Islamicists stew in THAT one!

So, because Egypt so richly deserves it, is the name of the video. It is called, Innocence of Muslims. Go look it up.

Second, let me condemn what Egypt has been doing. Hey, Egyptians! Get with the program! Here you are, having fought tooth-and-toenail for democratic freedom, and what’s the first thing you do with it? You riot and kill people! Come on! You really think attacking an embassy is going to change Hollywood? Get real! The idiot who made the film is in California, not Cairo! The idiot Rev. Terry Jones who promoted it is in Florida, not Tripoli! Don’t you realize that your freedom means that you can make a film insulting to Mohammed yourselves, and get away with it? Yet you not only still think that you can’t do this, but that people who live a billion miles away should acquiesce to your silly little demands to curtail freedom of speech! You arrogant, little pinheaded pyramid-pilers! You want to riot against something? Go visit Syria and lend a hand rioting there!

Jeez! Talk about cutting the Sphinx’s nose off despite your face!

Egypt, we expect better. You deserve better. You’ve earned better. And we in America want to see you get there.

Third, let me condemn the movie, Innocence of Muslims. I don’t condemn it for insulting Islam. Theo Van Gogh’s movie in Holland did that too, and I supported him. No, I condemn it by being a thoroughly horrible film. Finally, someone has made a worse film than Batman: The Movie starring Adam West and Burt Ward! If it were done as a comedy, it might work, but it was done as a serious indictment of Mohammed, only with shitty sound and lighting. Or maybe it was meant as a comedy, but nobody laughed. (Which means somebody finally outdid John Carpenter’s Dark Star as well.) We Americans pride ourselves on making great cars and great films. But this shitty thing threatens to do serious damage to our reputation!

If you’re going to insult Mohammed, then for Christ’s sake, do it right!

Finally, let me condemn all those who believe that the video, the Rev. Terry Jones, or anyone else who insults a religion or its leaders is somehow abusing freedom of speech. Bullshit! It is exactly the freedom to insult another person’s religion which is at the very heart of what free speech was meant to be! Freedom of speech is meant to protect blasphemy, if nothing else. Besides, if you can’t make fun of God, who the hell CAN you make fun of?

So, in that spirit, let me close with this: Fuck Mohammed! Fuck Jesus! Fuck Moses! Fuck you rioters in Libya and Egypt! And fuck Mitt Romney!

You see? That’s how you do freedom of speech in a democracy.


Eric

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