Paula R. Stern

Anatomy of Violence

I’ve been thinking a lot about “THE” movie that has set the Arab world on fire, so enraged that some idiot with a camera and a budget dared to portray Mohammed in the flesh. More interesting than the movie, of course, is the incredible reaction to it. There are several important levels to examine here:

  1. The violence that resulted from the movie – in Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, France, Australia, Kuwait, Libya….and more.
  2. The violence that did not result from the movie (the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi) but was immediately credited to it.

I looked to my history as a movie-goer, hoping for some clarity (knowing there would be none, of course). On those rare occasions when I wanted something different or was perhaps even insulted by the contents of the movie – I would make myself a promise, usually forgotten, not to waste money seeing that director or that actor again.

I have actually never gone out on a rampage following a movie; never burned a flag, never attacked a US embassy – or any other consulate, restaurant, or, in fact, buildings in general. I have never murdered anyone based on what I saw on a screen – or off the screen, if we are discussing murder, rape, pillage, rioting, etc.

So, for my first point, I would like to explain that there is a fundamental east versus west; infidel versus Muslim reaction to what is interpreted as heresy. In the western/infidel world, we might protest with signs, write letters to newspapers, or organize a boycott. In the eastern/Muslim world, an insult such as the movie is an invitation to riot, burn flags, attack buildings, shoot in the air, and cause embassies to close, people to flee. Interesting….

Now, perhaps more interesting, I would like to discuss the violence in Libya specifically. Out of curiosity, following the vicious and barbaric attack on the US Embassy in Libya (and Egypt and Yemen…), I went to YouTube to view the clip. Besides the obvious opinion that it was so pathetically done, is the more incredulous thought that four men were murdered supposedly in the name of this movie?

I can understand anger, even hatred. I have been angry; I have felt such hatred at certain times in my life. And in that instance when the anger rages and the hatred burns, something inside me knows it has to be turned. It will, in the end, do me more harm than the person, people, or action that initiated it.

And that is where reality comes forward. No one in the west really believes that the Americans in Libya were killed because of a movie – even one that insults their beloved prophet. The true reason, as proven by the sophisticated planning, the number of attackers, and the weapons that were used, lies deep in connections to Al Qaida, 9/11 and recent US anti-terrorist activities.

But what I find interesting here is that the motive of the movie was given, supposedly to be accepted by much of the world. They really believed that we would accept this as the reason. In that, they are correct – they’ve done it before, after all. The Danish cartoon. Salman Rushdie’s writings, etc.

They COULD have killed and rioted, burned flags and buildings because of a 13 minute trailer to a movie, because of a book, because of a cartoon. That this time they didn’t, doesn’t change the culture that could have.

And so, once again we return to the constant discussion – of their culture versus ours. Of their morality versus ours. Of their worshipping death and martyrdom versus our choosing life.

This is the fundamental truth behind the Libya attack and more than that, it says something quite interesting about them. Initially, years ago, we were astounded when they rioted over a cartoon, deeply perplexed at their issuing a death sentence over words written on paper in Rushdie’s book. Their actions of the past have brought about the results. We are no longer shocked that they would murder over a movie.

All evidence points to Al Qaida attacking again on 9/11 in the name of Islam and the belief that terror, death and violence bring their own rewards. They tried to hide this truth behind claims that it was our actions, our insulting Islam in a movie that caused this attack. But this time, we did not believe them, suspecting almost from the start that the claim that they attacked because of an insult to Mohammed in a 13 minute YouTube trailer was bogus.

What I find interesting, though, is that this time, they did managed to fool themselves. This time – the Arabs in Yemen, Egypt and Gaza and Kuwait, France, Australia and even in Israel believed it. And so, though Libya was about murder, the other places are indeed about the intolerance of ideas.

At the end of the day, however, their motives mean little. It isn’t about why they murdered, why they took to the streets in violent demonstrations and attacked western targets. To explain their motives as Obama tried to do is to justify terrorism – rather, in the name of their religion, once again, good, innocent people have died and others are being attacked.

The movie did not cause either the murders in Libya or the rioting throughout the Arab world. What caused these events is an intolerance of others; a belief that infidels need to be reminded of the greatness of their god and their prophet.

That the Obama administration is apparently going to stand up in the UN and condemn the movie makers, is yet another reason why this US government must not be re-elected…for the good of Israel, and for the good of the US and the western world.

Even infidels, one of western morals would argue, have the right to peace, security, and the chance to see even the stupidest of movies.

About the Author
Paula R. Stern is CEO of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company in Israel. Her personal blog, A Soldier's Mother, has been running for more than 5 years. She lives in Maale Adumim with her husband and children, a dog, too many birds, and a desire to write her thoughts and dream of a trip to Italy, Scotland, and beyond.