We certainly live in a difficult world
I have to admit I was shocked to learn of the killing of the American ambassador to Libya this week. It wasn’t so much that an American was killed in the Middle East, but the reason he was killed — a movie.
I can appreciate and respect a person for their beliefs, but that only goes so far. Taking those beliefs to a level of violence I cannot accept.
Killed in Tuesday night’s attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americas. Apparently, the mob that killed the four Americans and burned the embassy were worked into a frenzy over a film that ridiculed Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, the Associated Press reported.
My gosh, a film. What has this world come to. And, the movie is some independent film that is not part of the mainstream movies shown and will never see the light of day in an American movie theater.
However, in today’s rapidly shrinking world, the film has popped up on the internet for all the world to see. It is being used against all Americans and being used to incite people of the Muslim faith in the Middle East.
Sadly, the actions of those in Libya, and the film, will only increase the divisions between our nation and those in the Middle East. The fact that the attack occurred on the 11th anniversary of the attacks on America appears to be just a coincidence, but was it? We will probably never know.
Over the years films have sparked much debate here and abroad. I remember the movie, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” created a stir when it was released in the 1970s. More recently, “The Passion of The Christ” was a film that upset many. Yet, in neither instance did the movies incite people to violence or create a mob scene.
There have also been political movies over the years that have stirred emotions — but not violence. Michael Moore did a movie “Fahrenheit 9/11” that was highly critical of former President George W. Bush and today there is the film, “Obama 2016” which apparently is highly critical of the president. We did not see Republicans take to the streets over the Moore movie and Democrats have not resorted to violence over the Obama movie.
Even Adolph Hitler was able to tolerate movies critical of him, at least according to a documentary on Charlie Chaplin. In that documentary, Chaplin made a couple of movies very critical of Hitler both before and during World War II. The documentary reported the big film — it took Chaplin a year to film it — “The Great Dictator” was actually watched by Hitler.
The movie was a “satirical attack on fascism,” Chaplin would say. However, the German leader did not allow it to be shown to his troops or in Germany.
I don’t think there is any excuse for people to kill others over a film, but we cannot be caught up in the moment as well. The crowd that attacked the embassy in Benghazi is not representative of most Muslims and we should not take out our anger against people of that faith. If we do, we are no better than those mobs.
But, people need to put into proper context things like songs, movies and even books. None are worth killing another over.
Rick Elkins is editor of the Porterville Recorder. He can be reached at 784-5000, ext. 1040, or by e-mail at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.