Sunday, September 16, 2012

When Reason Fails, Build Another Wall

The subject of walls is well worth commenting on in relation to the events of this past week. A wall has been erected by the military to prevent clashes. Needless to say, walls don’t address problems but defer them and exacerbate them on most occasions. It should be needless to say but it isn’t. Those building walls need to hear it and comprehend it. However, (shocking as it may be) I don’t entirely blame the military for resorting to such an action. Everyone else is doing the same. Everyone has been actively putting up walls.

For commentary to the events themselves, there are several pieces that can be interesting, such as Hani Shukrallah’s opinion piece, Jadaliyya's article or Evan Hill’s analysis, but I’m more interested in walls.

Those protesting have erected the biggest walls. Abu Islam, owner of a TV channel burned a bible while people cheered on and later bragged about it, threatening to piss on it the next time. A protest in Australia has women in veils showing a sign insulting the deceased Egyptian Pope Shenouda III. The protests have taken on a life of their own and extended to numerous Arab countries such as Libya where the American ambassador and his aides were killed,  Lebanon, Sudan and others.

The protests have been building walls that do nothing but exacerbate the situation and push forward the rhetoric that the film aimed at proving. This is not a medieval time where history is re-interpreted, angry Muslims are writing their history now.

But how does one protest hate by hating? How does one protest insulting their religion by insulting another religion? How does one justify violence against those not involved in that singular act? How can some people accept death over a film?

The walls put up by protesters are more dangerous than the military’s but they have a similar effect. Decisions taken by a few and their effects will influence the lives of numerous others. As the select few wreak more havoc, more and more lives are endangered and the walls keep getting higher.

An onset of Islamophobia is to ensue, and why not? There is reason to fear Muslims given the news. A second rate movie caused deaths and destruction.  The majority of Muslims did not react this way, but could this eliminate the fear of the few who would?

The walls being built are becoming insurmountable and I’m not sure what the answer to it is. Tolerance perhaps, but if a group of people cannot tolerate a movie and punish others for what they haven’t done, how can they expected that those who did not partake will not be punished for the wrongdoings of their brethren?

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