Recently a number of American embassies across the Middle East have come under attack.  News programmes have been filled with burning buildings and stories of the dead.  Each in their own way telling us what is happening, yet no one daring to tell us why.  Doesn’t that make you curious?

The problem with news programmes as such is their desensitizing nature.  We are so used to scenes of carnage in the Middle East that we tend to ignore the fact that most of what we watch is a consequence of some other action.  It is incredibly rare for the TV cameras to be rolling for the cause.  They only catch the effect.

This reality creates a disturbing mental trend.  It links the Middle East with violence in our minds and in effect Muslims.  The present troubles are a great example of such a thought process.  Ask someone if they have seen pictures of the riots on the news.  And then ask them if they know why they started.

The cause in this case was a film.  A film which depicts the Prophet Mohammed as a sexual deviant, criminal and lunatic.  A film which is extremely offensive, islamaphobic, disturbing and extremely bizarre.  If you cast your minds back to the reaction a certain Danish cartoonist received, it is unquestionable that the makers of this film knew exactly what they were doing.  It is without a doubt a provocation.

If we measure the reaction in the Middle East through Western eyes, it’s almost impossible to understand.  The fact that ordinary people are screaming blue murder over a film, is almost as ridiculous as when they did over a cartoon.  However this is exactly the problem.  We cannot judge another culture from our own moral standards, as their culture is ANOTHER.  Westerns standards are mostly inherited from Christian ideals, however flexible they may be.  Judge not, lest ye be judged.  Yet still we continue to tell ourselves that we would never behave that way, that we can laugh at ourselves, and that, that fact makes us less morally reprehensible.

The film entitled ‘Innocence of Muslims’ was initially reported as being made by an Israeli film maker named Sam Bacile.  In the same reports a number of newspapers also claimed that the film was funded by 100 jewish donors.  For many news sources it ticked all of the boxes.  As it turns out Mr Bacile, doesn’t exist.  Let’s not ask why someone would go to such lengths to hide his identity.  Let us turn our attention to the man who has been unmasked as the film maker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.  The first surprise is that he is American.  The second is that he is a convicted criminal.  And the third is that he is a Coptic Christian.

For those of you that don’t know Coptic Christians make up around 10% of the population of Egypt.  For the last forty years Coptic Christians have been the subjects of a number of sectarian attacks, leading Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh to describe the situation as ‘an Arab Apartheid’.

Let’s recap.  Presently, if the webpages of CNN and the New York Times are correct,  an anti-islamic film was made by an American Coptic Christian.  It was then translated into Arabic and uploaded to You Tube.  It eventually was shown on Egyptian television and spread to Yemen, Libya and Lebanon.  A number of cities erupted into violence.  The most notable casualties were the American Ambassador to Libya  and a number of his colleagues.  Yet all our news stations continue to show are video footage of burning buildings and rioting youths.

I haven’t written this post to argue the rights and wrongs of this terrible situation, as I find it deplorable.  I am not a Christian, Muslim or Jewish.  Nor is it my intention to take a side in this argument.  I have written this post for one reason only, and that is to point out the fact that our information sources are complicit in the spread of ignorance across our lives.  They are reinforcing negative ideals.  It is because of reporting like this, that more and more people are finding fuel to their bigoted opinions.  I am not calling for you to stop watching or reading the news.  I am only asking you to think about what you see.

A Pliable Form Of Justice

What supposedly separates good from evil in terms of statehood is the belief in the rule of law.  The idea that every human being is a deserving of a trial by his peers.  Then and only then can a person’s guilt be confirmed and a fitting sentence be decided upon.  This obstacle if you will is the difference between a legitimate justice system and one of a corrupt, malevolent nature.

In the aftermath of the death of Colonel Gaddafi, the circumstances are somewhat unclear.  The initial reports suggested that he was executed by NTC soldiers.  Now the story is somewhat confusing as a number of conflicting reports have emerged.  One thing which is apparent, given the mobile phone footage which was shown on every news station last night is that for sometime at least he was dragged around the streets being struck by NTC soldiers.  That alone suggests that the idea he was taken to hospital is at the very least, rather unlikely.

As always in such cases it’s almost impossible that the truth will ever be completely clear.  As was the case with Bin Laden when he was shot dead, apparently unarmed and surrounded, the media will help us quickly forget any questions pertaining to the circumstances and move on.  In the meantime we can enjoy soundbite after soundbite about how someone has got justice, or about how the chance of building a new Libya has only started now the tyrant is dead, from various leading white Western politicians.  Despite the fact that now there is no chance of justice for the victims of Gaddafi’s regime.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Gaddafi case is the number of Western Governments who are seemingly delighted to be rid of Colonel Gaddafi.  British Prime Minister David Cameron was one of the first world leaders to speak of his pride in Britain’s part in bringing Gaddafi down.  What he didn’t speak of was the 5 million pounds worth of armored personnel carriers and water cannons we sold to Libya in 2007.  Or the tear gas we sold them in the summer of 2010.  Or the sniper rifles we sold them after that.

When the dust settles in Libya, and the nation tries to reconcile itself with its difficult past there are going to be very few figures left alive who will be able to shed some light on the torrid secrets of the Gaddafi regime.  There will be no figurehead.  There will be no one to blame.  The secrets will remain buried and the skeletons hidden in plain sight.