If you believe what we’re being told in the press, an Israeli real estate developer in California by the name of Sam Bacile, raised $5 million from 100 Jewish donors in order to make a film about the “cancer” that is Islam. That’s Bacile’s word, not mine. Before you get mad at Bacile, though, there’s something that you should probably know…. There’s a very good chance that he doesn’t exist. Given the information that has surfaced thus far, much of which is contradictory, I’d say it’s almost certain that Bacile is a character created by the individual, or individuals, behind the amateurish and deliberately offensive production. What remains to be learned is why those who created Bacile, and this reprehensible movie, did so.
The film, called “Innocence of Muslims,” has yet to be released theatrically (and likely never will, judging by the production values), but, in preparation for the anniversary of 9/11, a 14-minute trailer for the film was released to the web a few days ago. “The trailer,” in the words of New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick, “opens with scenes of Egyptian security forces standing idle as Muslims pillage and burn the homes of Egyptian Christians. Then it cuts to cartoonish scenes depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a child of uncertain parentage, a buffoon, a womanizer, a homosexual, a child molester and a greedy, bloodthirsty thug.”
My sincere hope is that the film wasn’t motivated in any way by our upcoming U.S. election, but, these days, one would be naive not at least consider the possibility that such a film was created in order to set off a series of events that would dominate our election cycle and allow for certain candidates to capitalize on anti-Muslim sentiment and widespread fear of all things Islam. Regardless of the motivation, however, the film has been created, and we’re now living with the ramifications.
Here, with a bit more on what’s included in the 14-minute trailer, is a clip from The Atlantic.
…What exactly does the film say? It’s still not clear, but it appears to compare Mohammed to a donkey and Muslims, according to one translation, to “child-lovers.” The New York Times’ Liam Stack, offering some offhand translations of the scene shown above, called it a “doozy.” The man in the scene says of his donkey, “This is the first Muslim animal.” He asks the donkey if it likes girls; when it doesn’t answer, he bursts into laughter and says, “He doesn’t like girls,” according to Stack. Other scenes in the above clip seem to portray Muslim Egyptian characters, who for some reason all have strong New York accents, as immoral and violent, particularly toward the Christians whom they pursue with near-genocidal fervor. A number of Islam’s founding figures, including the prophet, are accused of homosexuality and child molestation…
I don’t know that it qualifies as a legitimate news source, but someone on Metafilter, calling himself Slap*Happy has reason to believe that, “ultra-conservative factions in Cairo, opposed to the new government, translated and distributed the film to supporters, and then invited local soccer hooligans to riot.” These riots in Egypt then quickly gave way to even more bloody uprisings in Libya, where, lacking soccer hooligans, Muslim extremists (Salafis) relied on more sophisticated weapons to achieve their goals.
Prior to these attacks, members of the American delegation in Cairo released a statement. Shortly after noon on Tuesday, in an attempt to mitigate the uprisings, which were clearly brewing, embassy personnel in Egypt posted the following message online: “The United States Embassy in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
The attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya, as we would discover Tuesday afternoon, took place in spite of this preemptive measure.
The Romney campaign, sensing an opportunity to have their candidate retake the offensive, and establish himself as a bad-ass foreign policy hawk, exponentially more America-loving than his opponent, jumped into the fray, in spite of having promised earlier not to make partisan attacks on the anniversary of 9/11. Romney, shortly before midnight on Tuesday, issued the following statement… “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
Romney, one can assume, knew full well that this was a lie when he said it. He knew this statement of “sympathy,” as he called it, was made prior to the attacks, and that it didn’t come from the Obama White House, but from the U.S. embassy in Cairo, and yet he made the statement anyway, hoping to further perpetuate the ridiculously offensive, and false, narrative that Obama’s alliances lie more with the anti-American terrorists in the Middle East than they do with our own American representatives oversees. This blatant politicization of tragic events would have been inexcusable, even if nothing else had transpired, but, unfortunately, things then took a turn for the worse. A rocket attack on our embassy in Benghazi, as we learned shortly afterward, took the lives of Chris Stevens, the U.S ambassador to Libya, and three other embassy staff, making the statements by Romney come across as even more cruel, calculated and incendiary. And, to make matters worse, Romney, when later given an opportunity to correct his statement about the President’s “disgraceful” act, decided to double down instead, inferring not only that Obama sympathized with the terrorists that took the lives of Stevens and his staff, but that the attack happened because of our President. “We have seen a foreign policy of weakness, indecision, and a decline in American influence and respect – and yesterday we saw the consequences,” said Romney.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus echoed his candidate’s comments on Twitter, stating “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”
President Obama, contrary to what Romney and Preibus would have you believe, did not begin with an apology to the terrorists when, after the attack, he addressed the nation. “I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens,” Obama said this morning. He then went on to say… as any responsible leader would… “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”
Chris Stevens, as I understand it, was the most stalwart champion that the men and women of Libya had, and it’s absolutely beyond me that these people who took his life could be so short-sighted. Say what you will about heavy-handed American foreign policy, and our motivations in taking out Qaddafi, the fact is that Stevens was instrumental in removing the brutal dictator that ruled over them for decades, and it absolutely sickens me to see his work rewarded in this fashion. But, I suppose this is what happens when politicians and demagogues set out to manipulate events for their own immediate benefit… Someone clearly, in my opinion, instigated this riot, by putting this film trailer into the hands of uneducated, painfully thin-skinned, easily manipulated young men. And they did so for their own personal gain, without taking into consideration what the result would be for the Libyan people. It’s terribly tragic. And the tragedy is compounded by the fact that, now, in our country, our politicians are doing the same damned thing. These men in power play their fucking games, and people die.
As for Romney, I thought, yesterday, when we discussed his statements on global warming, that his campaign had reached rock bottom. Little did I know, however, that the descent was still in process. His behavior in this incident was absolutely loathsome, and, in my opinion, it demonstrates a clear inability to carry out the tasks that would be required of him as President.
I know that he’s desperate, and he was praying for an opportunity to shift the conversation, and assert himself on the foreign policy stage, but, Jesus Christ, four Americans were just been murdered. This isn’t an “opportunity” to blame the President, and make unfounded claims about his refusal to condemn the attacks. This is a “travesty” for our country, and should be treated as such.
Here, for those of you who are interested, is the President’s formal statement concerning the attack of our consulate in Libya.
It’s also worth noting, I think, that the Libyan President Mohammed Magarief said the following on Al Jazeera, after the attacks: “We owe an apology to the US government, it’s people and in fact to the whole world.” I have no way of knowing if he was sincere, but I suspect he’s truly sorry to have lost an ally like Stevens.
And, one more thing… According to On The Media, it would appear that all of the references to Islam that we made in the trailer for film in question were added in post-production. “I can’t help but wonder if the actors involved in the project were told what kind of film they were making,” says the author of the On The Media article. “If you remove all the references to Islam in the trailer, the movie reads like some cheesy Arabian Nights story, and it is quite possible that that is all the actors thought they were doing.”
And, lastly, I don’t say it nearly enough, but I like living in a country where, in spite of how bad things may be these days, people still aren’t blowing each other up over items in popular culture that they don’t like. Or, at least, to my knowledge, the Mormons have yet to launch a rocket at anyone involved with The Book of Mormon, and the Scientologists have yet to throttle anyone associated with the film coming out about their spiritual leader, L. Ron Hubbard… at least as of today.
[note: The photo at top is one of a series posted by The Guardian. I considered posting something with flames, but I chose this one instead. It says to me that, despite how bad things may seem, there are still intelligent people, even in the Middle East, who can see through the manipulation.]