The violent protests against the sacrilegious film have highlighted three aspects: people do not tolerate irreverence to their religion; the United States’ relations with Muslim states are tenuous; and the existence of grave social disparity in society. Were the objectionable film the only issue, the protests wouldn’t have been so violent. Simultaneous protests in so many Muslim countries clearly manifested public anger against the US policy of regime-change and occupation.
On September 11, the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a charged crowd attacked the US consulate in Benghazi. The attack resulted in the death of US ambassador Christopher Stevens, and three other diplomats. Was the blasphemous film the only issue, or did the angry Libyans vent their fury against the occupation of their country and possession of its oil?
A picture doing the rounds on the Internet, titled “Act of God,” shows Stevens looking at Muammar Qaddafi’s mutilated body in October 2011. He could never have foreseen people would be looking at his own lifeless figure eleven months later. According to French journalist, Thierry Meyssan, the Arabic-speaking US ambassador functioned as governor and de facto head of state. Hillary Clinton’s reaction was, “how could this happen in the country we helped liberate” and “in a city we helped save from destruction.” The ferocity and quickness of the protests show the depth of Muslim peoples’ outrage against the US and the West for the violation of their countries’ sovereignties.
While the West refers Muslims’ anger against it Islamic fanaticism, the truth lies elsewhere: it is Muslim anger against Western occupation of Islamic countries for the exploitation of their resources. This should answer the question Americans ask about Muslims, “Why do they hate us?” Americans should bear in mind what their renowned political scientist Samuel Huntington said: “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organised violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.” Libyans, Iraqis and Afghans will never forget it. Recent polls suggest that two-thirds of the populations in the Middle East and three-fourths in Pakistan are opposed to the US presence in their countries.
However, no anti-US protests have occurred in Saudi Arabia or the Gulf sheikdoms. Perhaps because the despotic monarchies and sheikdoms crush the dissent so ruthlessly that nobody dares raise his voice.
Paul Craig Roberts, who worked as Ronald Reagan’s assistant secretary of the treasury, writes insightful columns and refers to the US mainstream media as “Presstitute.” In a recent piece on Libya, “Death to America,” he wrote: “Unlike the Washington-supported Saudi royal family that absorbs most of their nation’s oil income, Qaddafi allocated the oil money to Libyans. …”
“Under his 1999 Decision No. 111, all Libyans received free healthcare, education, electricity, water, training, rehabilitation, housing assistance, disability and old-age benefits, interest-free state loans, as well as generous subsidies for people to study abroad, buy a new car, help when they marry, practically free gasoline, and more. Why did such a relatively wealthy and egalitarian country need to be ‘liberated’ by Washington and its Nato war criminal puppet states?”
Nevertheless, no one condones the damage the protestors did to government and private property.
There was another angle to it: the social injustice and disparity between the rich and poor segments of societies reaching the tipping point. The rich don’t know where to spend their wealth; the poor don’t know where their next meal will come from.
Hence the angry poor resort to violence. Here, too, the superpower should take the blame for foisting its proxies over the large Muslim populations and not allowing genuine leaderships to emerge.
By: Iftekhar A. Khan