September 13, 2012

Before We Start Ascribing Bad Intent to Whole Countries, Regions and Cultures…




Before ascribing bad intent to whole countries, regions and cultures (or wielding apology like a sword), I think — before more primitive or sensational tendencies kick in — it’s important to take a good look at these Benghazi “man in the street” photos. (Larger edit here).

Most of the actions in play — between the creation of the im-Bacile Muhammed video; the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya and the killing of the ambassador; and the chest-and-drum beating for war on the part of the Israeli Prime Minister — are not generalized or mainstream or representative of good people so much as they are the behavior of radicals and extremists. To remember and to emphasize the distinction is as much a matter of  sanity as one of honesty and clarity.

That said, it is only fair to point out that the photos come courtesy of Al Hurrah’s Facebook page, that being the Arabic TV network funded by the U.S. government.  Of course, with so many of the signs written in English, with some carrying the same phrases (with the same misspellings), I’d be curious to know more about how this demonstration came together. Still, I’m willing to accept that the instinct here — especially in light of the role the U.S. played in liberating the country (especially the East) from Gaddafi, as well as the nature of Christopher Stevens — is genuine.


I thought the fact most of the signs misspelled prophet as “profit” was ironic, by the way, as in: we have nothing to gain from this.

Update: If I happened to infer more of a connection between these demonstrations and Al Hurrah, I should point out that Al Jazeera also features several of these images in their own crisis slideshow.

(h/t: @ghostcatbce)

(photos via Libya Alhurra Livestream/Facebook via Buzzfeed)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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