arab autumn

i’m just soooo glad we helped to bring democracy to egypt and libya — especially since they wanted it so much. so how’s all that working out for us anyway?:

“US official dies in Libya consulate attack in Benghazi”

“An American has been killed and at least one other wounded after militiamen stormed the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, officials say.

“It is believed the protest was held over a US-produced film that is said to be insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

“The building was set on fire after armed men raided the compound with grenades.

“Protests have also been held at the US embassy in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

“In the attack in Benghazi, unidentified armed men stormed the grounds, shooting at buildings and throwing handmade bombs into the compound.

“Security forces returned fire but Libyan officials say they were overwhelmed….

“The film that sparked the demonstration is said to have been produced by a 52-year-old US citizen from California named Sam Bacile, and promoted by an expatriate Egyptian Copt….

“‘Abuse freedom of speech’

“Thousands of protesters had gathered outside the US embassy in the Egyptian capital.

“Egyptian protesters condemned what they said was the humiliation of the Prophet of Islam under the pretext of freedom of speech…..”
_____

you know, they just have to get over it. they don’t like freedom of speech and they don’t want it in their countries? — fine. but we have it in ours and they’re just gonna have to deal with it.

and we’d better not apologize for any of this, either! oh, wait. too late:

“The US embassy earlier issued a statement condemning ‘the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions’.”

sheesh.
_____

update 09/12: posting these, from this 2012 pew survey of egypt, in response to peter’s comment below. see my response:

(note: comments do not require an email. omg! it’s mohammed!)

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19 Comments

  1. What does this have to do with democracy? Some militiamen stormed some buildings and shot some people up and blew stuff up. I don’t see what this has to do with democracy. If American militiamen did the same in the US, it would have nothing to do with democracy either.

    Reply

  2. @peter – “What does this have to do with democracy?”

    you’re right. i should’ve said “liberal democracy” rather than just democracy. i think most westerners, myself included, when we imagine us “bringing democracy” to foreign lands picture liberal democracy with all that entails including free speech, etc. many societies have, or have had, democracies, they just haven’t been liberal ones. and many people in different societies today who say they want democracy don’t, i suspect, want liberal democracy. (which is fine by me, btw — not that it really matters what the h*ll i think.)

    @peter – “Some militiamen stormed some buildings and shot some people up and blew stuff up. I don’t see what this has to do with democracy.”

    because they say they stormed these embassies (well, one was just a consulate) in protest over some movie about mohammed made in the u.s. the movie is critical of mohammed, fwiu, and they don’t like that … ’cause they don’t like the levels of free speech that the anglo-world has (traditionally had…). they might like some amount of free speech, but you can’t criticize the prophet.

    see, for instance, the two graphs i added to the post above. a 2012 pew survey of egyptians found that 60% of them think free speech is very important. and while that sounds like a pretty healthy majority, 92% of them think that their nation’s laws should follow the koran, 60% of them think they should do so strictly. that would definitely curtail free speech in a h*ckuva lot of ways.

    the militiamen are just the violent tip of the iceberg (pyramid? sand dune?) in the middle east/maghreb. most people in those countries don’t want full free speech the way most americans would understand it, so they can’t possible want liberal democracy, either. not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Reply

  3. Do we really have freedom of speech in the West? In the Islamic World if you express doubts
    about Islam you are punished. In the West people like Watson or Kanazawa who do not demonstrate full adherence to the West’s secular religion of liberalism are also punished. The
    West and the Islamic World have different religious but both are pretty fanatical about their beliefs. Objectove rational inquiry is not much tolerated in either world.

    Reply

  4. @jim – “Do we really have freedom of speech in the West?”

    not perfectly, no. obviously. if we had, i wouldn’t be writing under a pseudonym. (no, hbd chick is NOT my real name! (~_^) )

    but i still think, despite people being watsoned and derbyshorn on a regular basis, that we’re better off than most parts of the world that don’t have our first amendment. we’re not stuck with hate speech laws, for instance … not yet anyway.

    Reply

  5. Tweeted for you, since I didn’t see it there from you.

    One would imagine that we should tell the Muslims just to grow up, and understand how things work here, but I realize that would be asking a lot…a whole lot…

    Reply

  6. @jayman – “Tweeted for you, since I didn’t see it there from you.”

    thanks! i realized after i had signed off last night that i hadn’t tweeted it, but then i was too lazy to log back on. (~_^)

    @jayman – “…but I realize that would be asking a lot…a whole lot…”

    yeah, too much really. my initial reaction is to be annoyed that they are annoyed at something that happens in our country. i mean, if you don’t like this movie, and that it’s (or part of it is) available on youtube, just get your national leaders to block youtube in your country. shouldn’t that be enough? but i guess it’s not … they don’t want anyone, anywhere to criticize the prophet.

    otoh, i do appreciate parts of their argument — serious, conservative muslims i mean — who are p*ssed off that we send them mtv and all our stuff full of western values (if there are any values on mtv at all! (~_^) ). our western values, no doubt, do destroy their way of life and i can appreciate that they find it annoying — and a threat.

    Reply

  7. hbd – “a 2012 pew survey of egyptians found that 60% of them think free speech is very important. and while that sounds like a pretty healthy majority, 92% of them think that their nation’s laws should follow the koran,”

    I often question in my own mind why I should put stock in such surveys? Why should the respondents answer honestly? I can imagine why they might not answer honestly. Guarantees of anonymity mean nothing, or might not: how do you know. Similarly surveys of happiness seem doomed: at least in our society to say you are not happy calls for an explanation. To say you are happy does not. Otherwise when people ask how are we doing we would be more likely to say, not fine. To say nothing of the fact that most people don’t even know what the questions mean — that applies especially to political polls in the US on the issues. Not only are they ignorant, but they are easily manipulated by the way the question is framed. Add the tabloid factor — media are in it for the money, so they too are biased towards spectacular or unexpected headlines and, well, I just don’t put much stock in the news.

    Reply

  8. @luke – “I often question in my own mind why I should put stock in such surveys?”

    yes, there are difficulties with surveys and self-reporting — for all the reasons you mentioned and probably even more. but they’re the best we’ve got to work with right now until we can zip everybody into super-duper fMRI scanners of the future that can read everybody’s thoughts. (~_^)

    what we have to settle for now is to see if the sorts of responses that we get in surveys kinda/sorta match with what we see on the ground. and i don’t think it’s far out to say that people in the middle east, on average, don’t care about free speech as much as anglo-americans do. did any of them enshrine a right to free speech in a national constitution 200+ years ago? no. there’s your answer right there i think.

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  9. I find it really difficult to understand how their minds work. Don’t they understand how foolish and childish it looks for them to get all enraged about some lame video on the Internet? I guess it is something to do with it being an honour/shame culture.

    Reply

  10. @dearieme – “If ‘Arab Autumn’ is of your own devising, then congratulations.”

    i did think of it on my own after a little bit of struggle (trying to come up with something clever (~_^) ) — but now that i think about it, it’s kinda obvious. (~_^) and i see that a lot of other people thought of it, too — probably more quickly than i did! h*ll — some of them thought of it last year! (^_^) maybe i saw it somewhere before but don’t remember … wouldn’t be out of character for me.

    Reply

  11. @melykin – “I guess it is something to do with it being an honour/shame culture.”

    prolly.

    what i don’t get is why they don’t get that we do things differently and that’s it’s none of their business telling us what we can and can’t do. but then again, lots of westerners go around telling them what they should and shouldn’t do (your women shouldn’t have to wear burkas, you shouldn’t have child marriages), which i find pretty weird, too. people always sticking their noses into other peoples’ business. *hbd chick shrugs shoulders*

    Reply

  12. The Libyan business is more proof of the thesis that free speech is Protestant phenomenon. Not that Catholics necessarily disbelieve in it:

    One surpassingly zealous Scots Presbyterian actually tried to convert Pius VI during a ceremony at St Peter’s. “O thou beast of Nature,” cried this fanatic, on being presented to the pope, “with seven heads and ten horns! Thou mother of harlots, arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with precious stones and pearls! Throw away the golden cup of abominations, and the filthiness of thy fornication!”

    The pope’s reply (if indeed he made one) was not recorded. This unruly Protestant fundamentalist was seized by the Swiss Guard and briefly jailed. But then the pope not only had him released, but thanked him for his good intentions and paid for his return passage to Scotland. (Robert Hughes, _Rome_, pg. 379, chapter 9, “The Eighteenth Century: Neo-Classicism and the Grand Tour”)

    That could be you, too, Chick, with a few changes: “Thou mother of HBD, arrayed in purposive research and statistics, and decked with evolutionary theory and facts! Throw away the golden cup of speculations, and the filthiness of thy ratiocination!”

    Reply

  13. Free speech is fine with muslims, as long as it’s their free speech. It’s just everyone else that needs their speech controlled.

    Reply

  14. @candid k9 – “‘Thou mother of HBD, arrayed in purposive research and statistics, and decked with evolutionary theory and facts! Throw away the golden cup of speculations, and the filthiness of thy ratiocination!'”

    ha! (^_^) (^_^) (^_^)

    i need to print that out and tack it to the wall here! (^_^)

    Reply

  15. I’m with the Milbloggers on this one. An Ambassador, whose person should be inviolate, was murdered on what was arguably sovereign U.S. territory. That is an Act of War. I quoted Daffy Duck after the USS Cole attack: “I suppose you realize, this means war.”

    Reply

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