‘Koran discovered with coffee cup stain on the front cover, US marines deployed to all Starbucks franchises.’
The quip, retweeted by celebrity atheist Richard Dawkins, exemplifies the belligerent incomprehension with which so many, including self-proclaimed liberals, have responded to protests against the film The Innocence of Muslims.
Rioting over a YouTube clip that offends the Muslim sky fairy? How tremendously foolish! How childish; how superstitious; how very, very silly!
Well, we’ve certainly seen ignorance paraded over the last few days but it’s as much by smug progressives as anyone else.
Consider a historical analogy.
In 1857, Bengali soldiers (known as ‘sepoys’) shot their British officers and marched upon Delhi. The Great Indian Rebellion became very violent, very quickly. The rebels massacred prisoners, including women and children; the British put down the revolt with a slaughter of unprecedented proportions.
Now, that rebellion began when the troops learned that their cartridges, designed to be torn open with their teeth, would be greased with beef and pork fat, an offence to the religious sensibilities of Hindus and Muslims alike. Had Twitter been an invention of the Victorian era, London sophisticates would, no doubt, have LOLed to each other (#sepoyrage!) about the credulity of dusky savages so worked up about a little beef tallow. Certainly, that was how the mouthpieces of the East India Company spun events: in impeccably Dawkinesque terms, they blamed ‘Hindoo prejudice’ for the descent of otherwise perfectly contented natives into rapine and slaughter.
But no serious historian today takes such apologetics seriously. Only the most determined ignoramus would discuss 1857 in isolation from the broader context of British occupation. In form, the struggle might have been religious; in content, it embodied a long-simmering opposition to colonial rule.
That’s why those who pretend the protests against The Innocence of Muslims came from nowhere merely reveal their own foolishness.
‘Today, many Americans are asking — indeed, I asked myself — how could this happen?’ said Hillary Clinton after the riots in Libya. ‘How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be.’
The echoes of George Bush’s infamous query ‘Why do they hate us when we’re so good?’ suggests nothing whatsoever has been learnt from the last decade and the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere.
For this is, of course, the same Hillary Clinton who, as recently as 2009, proclaimed Mubarak, Egypt’s torturer-in-chief, and his wife, ‘friends of my family’, acknowledging a relationship that exemplified the pally connections between the US elite and every dictator and despot in the region. Mubarak might have been crossed off the Clinton Christmaas list but President Obama forges ever closer relations with the tyrants of Saudi Arabia, delivering the biggest ever arms deal in US history to fortify a reactionary and criminal government against its populace.
No, Hillary Clinton might not recall such matters. But the people of the Muslimworld are considerably better informed – and that’s the context for their anger. [Continue reading…]