As an aspiring diplomat Chris Stevens is a hero of mine. Ambassador Stevens sacrificed his life to help bring freedom to Libyans, a people that had been victims to the iron fist of Qaddafi. The reason for his murder was a video he may have never even seen. However if I am allowed to guess his reaction to “The Innocence,” it would be tantamount to, “This is a disgrace.”
In the days following his murder, I cannot help but equate that “The Innocence,” in many ways to the, “The Passion of Christ.” At face value, both of these films are
academically driven, falsifiable-and-tested theories of biblical anthropology the works of complete lunatics.
However, “The Passion” and “The Innocence” differ in the reaction each of them earned. In the wake of Gibson’s egregious claims, the peoples identified as Jesus’ victimizers in “The Passion” did not seek retribution against Mel Gibson; they just let him be. Ultimately, Mel exposed himself for the racist, anti-Semitic, disillusioned homophobe that he is.
So who is responsible for the violent chain reaction set off by “Innocence of Muslims?”
If people reacted violently every time they were offended by the internet, the world would be much more chaotic. This in mind, the murderers who hunted Ambassador Stevens represent a microfraction of Libya’s population. Those who unilaterally declare Muslims responsible for these attacks are severely out of touch with reality. Identifying the “Innocence of Muslims” as a marginalized perspective in the West, but then not accepting that the same is true of the actions of protestors in Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, and Libya may, in time, prove hypocritical. While the targeting of American diplomats may have emanated from deep primordialist rivalries, more likely, the protests are the work of small, but talented groups of provocateurs.
Something about these protests, ignites the memories of my sixth grade self and a problem I dealt with quite regularly.
I was bullied in middle school; one day, I came home with bruises and a bloody lip because I fought back against the children who would harass. However, my mom did not feel sympathy for me. She told me that my physical reaction was exactly what my harassers were looking for; by attacking the students who called me, “fat, dumb, and ugly,” I was justifying their jeering to the rest of my class.
Her advice, “develop a teflon personality.”
Lesson: People say a lot of dumb things, that does not mean each comment merits a reaction.
Chris Stevens was not murdered by the people who he had helped gain independence, but by the very people who the revolution was directed against. Ironically, terrorists in Libya have done more to verify the unfounded ideologies of a few miseducated, religious fanatics who scrapped up enough money to piece together a film I initially mistook for a low-budget porno, than the producers probably ever envisioned.