And this is why I don't live in Texas anymore:
Facebook feed 1: representing the hillbilly section of the population. Keep in mind this man is a police detective. He is college educated and technically not an idiot.
Peanut Gallery: "Only 1,000? Surely we could get a few more! :)"
Me: "Um, that's how this started in the first place. I don't condone the terrible things a few extremists have done but people need to realize that we live in a global community and free speech isn't a global right. Didn't anyone think that this might happen with the release of a hate-filled diatribe of anti-Islam rhetoric after seeing the attacks over a comic strip about Mohamed? Why can't people respect other people's faith? Why aren't we holding the people who created the movie responsible? A few people acting out, though be it in an extreme terrible manner, doesn't represent all of the Arab world. There are peaceful protests going on as well. And Libyans that are protesting the deaths of the Americans and standing up against the atrocities their fellow countrymen committed. Why kill 1000 innocent people for a few extremists' actions?"
And it goes downhill quickly from there:
Peanut Gallery: "Jethro for President, great ideas and change"
Voice of reason related to Jethro: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that."
Jethro: "No one in this country and especially in any other countries can restrict our freedom of speech. They may live in that kind of society but we do not have too! How many people did Christians kill when an artist displayed a crucifix in urine? How many Brits did we kill when Monty Python's Life of Bryan was playing? Zero! I say cut off all aid to them all, bring our troops home and let them have the sand box! I pray for the day we don't need their fucking oil so they all can go back to their mud huts and goats."
Jethro: "The world needs to fear us again! Reagan had Libya bombed after Lockerbie, killing one of Gaddafi's young daughters. He got the message and was subdued for 25 years! And why have we not had a major terrorist attack? They are all too busy hiding and looking in their rearview for a drone attack! I'm tired of apologist for our actions! Cut them all off, let them eat sand and drink oil!"
Me: "They're not restricting our freedom of speech. I'm saying people...should be respectful. The producers of this 'movie' knew exactly what kind of reaction this movie was going to get and did it for their own purpose. And as I said, it's not ok to kill people to prove a point, but then again it's not ok to go kill innocent civilians to prove that America is bigger and stronger either. You can't even imagine the things (the Libyans) have lived through."
Jethro: "Oh how naive some of you are with your World view thoughts. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things"
Peanut Gallery: "Amen Jethro! Nothing we say or do is going to make them stop hating us. The movie is just an excuse that is made worse by Americans who support the theory that our actions caused this. F' em"
Me: "Why don't you go live outside of the Texas bubble and get to know some people in the real world then tell me I'm being childish. I interview refugees all day every day that are displaced by this violence you are promoting. It's childish to think that your 'kill em all' attitude doesn't affect normal everyday people like yourself on this side of the world."
And then I defriended him.
Facebook feed 2: from the slightly more educated population. This guy went to high school and college with me and got his JD at the same university I got my masters. We'll call him "Buck".
Buck: "The irony of the protests over this anti-islam movie is that every news article that refers to it references it as obscure, which is rapidly becoming innacurate thanks to the protests. This makes me question the subtext: are these really just stupid people who do not understand the nature of freedom of speech in America, is this a pretext for lashing out against America for other reasons, or is this something more ominous like a coordinated plot to reinvigorate anti-American sentiment around the anniversary of 9/11? Thoughts?"
Me: "Just because there is freedom of speech in America doesn't mean that people shouldn't respect others religions. We are a global community and people should think about how their actions affect the rest of the world. I don't think it's fair to call the people stupid for being offended or for protesting something that was clearly meant to incite them. I'm not condoning the few extremists actions but it's not fair to let the moviemakers off the hook either. And since I'm not in America I can't say for sure, but I'm wouldn't be surprised if the peaceful protests were not getting the same news time as the deaths in Libya and I'm sure the fact that many Libyans protested the actions of the extremists in their country is not being widely acknowledged. We need to stop painting people with a wide brush. Not everyone is out to get America."
Buck: "@Me long time no see. While I agree that it is doubtful the peaceful protests are getting as much coverage as the violent ones, there have been stories about the Libyan counter protests with some very moving photos. Those protests stand a much better chance of influencing people and affecting some change. However, if these protests are really just about being offended by this obscure movie, whether they are peaceful or not they are still a stupid response. Most people would never have known about this movie if it were it not for the free advertising these protests are giving it, meaning they are doing more harm than good. Therefore, stupid is an appropriate term. If you want to start a war with America, burning the flag, shooting at marines, and sacking embassies on the anniversary of 9/11 is a good way to do it."
Buck's friend: "It's on youtube now, it's pretty low-quality production value, nothing I'd want to kill anybody over."
Buck: "(I didn't finish my thought). The reaction is so counter-productive, I feel like there is something else behind these events. Either the movie's producer (or someone with a similar viewpoint) is intentionally causing controversy to get more attention, or someone on the other side of the spectrum is looking for a good way to foment anger."
Buck: "@Buck's friend I was about to sarcastically point out that you are not Muslim, so of course you are not that offended. But on the flip side I remember watching the movie "Paul" with you, and I felt you had a perfectly rational reaction to being offended by a movie that clearly denegrated (sic) your faith. You were offended and you said so. Done. No one died. Kudos."
Me: "What other kind of voice does someone halfway across the world from America have other than to protest? How else can they say, 'hey, that's not cool, don't denigrate my faith' when they're in Libya or Egypt or Sudan to people in America? And yes, I agree, the movie's producer is intentionally causing controversy to get attention. That's how the the radical pro-Zionist movement rolls. I don't agree that people over here are looking for a reason to 'hate America'. As someone who lives on this side of the world I find it to be quite the opposite."
Buck did not get defriended because he did not advocate the killing of a thousand innocent people and was able to maintain an intellectual conversation on a viewpoint that I happened not to agree with him however, he respected my opinion and did not wildly offend me. Way to conversate open-mindedly, Buck.
Am I overreacting? What do you think about the protests? Is this a valid way to demonstrate your unhappiness with a provocative situation, peacefully of course? Why should they not be allowed to express their displeasure with this intentionally offensive film?
I believe the film was created with every intention of riling up people and eliciting this exact reaction. The moviemakers counted on a few crazies to come out and overreact. They are promoting an anti-Islam agenda to get Americans to hate a few countries that believe differently than them. No wonder so many Americans are so paranoid that these countries are anti-American, it's because they are anti-(Fill In The Blank Country) and assume these countries reciprocate the negative feelings. People become anti-Libyan, anti-Egyptian, anti-Sudanese, without knowing more about the actual people in these countries than their religion and a few pictures in a newscast. This is how hate spreads. The anti-American rhetoric spread after the invasion of Iraq because people didn't know anything about America other than our foreign policy meant killing their families and loved ones.
What do you think? Am I not angry enough over the deaths of 4 Americans working for their country and promoting relations with Libya? Of course I think it's a terrible tragedy, but I'm not going to misplace my anger on thousands of Libyans that don't agree with the few extremists acting in the name of all Libyans.