It took me much courage to watch it – that “famous” film.
I did it in phases, because I could not stomach the Sacred being trampled upon. In phase 1, I watched 6mn of it. In phase 2. I managed the whole film, more or less, because I kept skipping scenes.
It’s only a film I told myself…a bad one too, “artistically” speaking. But this is not a question about artfulness…it’s about destructive creativity, and the film is only the needle that broke the camel’s back.
The whole incident (and what ensued) was most interesting to observe…a certain detachment is necessary only to get closer to the truth of the matter…
Many levels to the story…a superimposition of levels, of meanings, of perceptions, of discourses, of realities…
So I watched it. The first thing that struck me is the hyper sexualization of the “character” Mohamed. I was not surprised to later read that a certain American by the name of Klein who backed/supported/funded this film (the story is still not quite clear), called Islam a “penis-driven” religion. While the producer of this film (still not quite sure who he is) called it a “cancer”.
Mohamed is portrayed as a sex driven lecherous bastard, a pedophile, a cruel sadist, a pervert, and a homosexual.
In those 13mn or so of this cheap trailer, almost comic but not comic at all – you are left with the idea – Mohamed is basically an animal and a savage. He is depicted as this lowly thing, totally under the mercy of the most base impulses, a beast in human form. This is the main idea of the film. And by correlation, anyone who follows Mohamed and his teachings is akin to Mohamed – a beast in human form, a penis driven, cancerous thing that needs to be eliminated for one’s survival.
If I want to employ terms borrowed from “orientalist” imagery – this would be “negative orientalism” at its purest. “Positive orientalism” on the other hand (even though still orientalism) would attribute more positive exotic attributes to the Other, yet still not devoid of “potential uncontrollable dangers that can erupt at any time”.
The timing of the film is to be given some consideration as well : it suddenly surged on 9/11 (even though am told it was realized before), and as it so happens, before the US elections. But these are relatively minor details (even though important in their own right). What personally interests me is something of a different nature.
I will try to keep it as simple as I can…
When the protests broke out –and quite unfortunately 3 or 4 Americans lost their lives and 18 non Americans as well (protesters and police but no one pays attention to those), H.Clinton in her first press conference said : ” these are a small group of Savages” and Obama promised “justice” will be done. Later. we learn military reinforcements as well as drones are sent to Yemen, Libya and Sudan.
Indeed it was an act of “savagery” to kill an American ambassador in a country that NATO just helped to “liberate”, but wait a minute here…is that not what the message of the film was all about ? A “savage” prophet ?
Glenn Beck in another statement to the press said — “ these Muslims are animals”. But wait a minute here, was that not the message of the film depicting the prophet as a bestial thing – an animal ?
Before I go further I want you, nay I request of you – to bear in mind that during the Wisconsin killings where innocent Sikhs were targeted – no one referred to the killers as animals or savages, ditto for the Norway killer.. Bear that in mind for a second while I continue…
So H.Clinton who is known for her hyena shriek when Gaddafi was lynched with “we came, we saw, he died”, re-confirmed the message passed on by the film – the savage Muslim ( a group of them we were assured).
When the protests had spread well beyond Benghazi and Cairo…it no longer became an issue if Americans were killed but if the sanctity of the American flag was “hurt”. American flags burned from Morocco to Bangladesh, even in lousy “liberated” Iraq…
Reuters wrote in total outrage in CAPITAL letters on Twitter – “they burned the trees surrounding the US embassy in Sudan and broke the windows” like – how could they – it was nothing but a film ?!
But was it really just about a film ? Or was it really just about a cartoon ?
Our house Muslims quick to pacify, immediately polished the shoe of the master, almost automatically…”it’s just a film” they said. Just like they said “it was just a cartoon”, “look at Syria” they’d conclude.
Needless to say, our house-Muslims in the past never gave two hoots about Syria…and when they did they called the rebels “nothing but a bunch of salafis paid by the West” oh wait, wait, till you read about our online Hijabis, the ones that would bore us to tears with their “religiosity, piousness and their hijabs” suddenly took a distance marked by an “embarrassment” with these “savages” that stormed US embassies and oh horror of horrors burned the American flag. After all, Islam is a religion of peace, as long as you are allowed to keep your accessory hijab on.
The house Muslims along with the media assured and re-assured us it was just the “salafis” – the hardcore extremists who took offense. These “salafis” “jihadists” happen to be the “savages” by association as per the film and the US government. Except in the film it was Prophet Mohammed himself.
So was it really about a film ? or was it about some subconscious message that everyone registered, or was it about US empire and its symbols ? It was all three and more…
Surely you can’t convince me that the hundreds of protesters were all salafis, jihadists, surely you can’t convince me that all were angry about just a film ?!
One cleric from Khasmir summed it up well — in simple terms — it’s about time the US leaves the region.
In order to occupy a region from Afghanistan to Iraq, you need to vilify and demonize…the film is NOT a separate incident from the general American foreign policy but a continuation of it.
Protesters storming American and Western Embassies, burning American flags, Hardees (an American hamburger joint) and Kentucky Fried Chicken — are nothing but a symbolic response…not just to a film that depicts the Imam, the leader, the Prophet of ALL Muslims as an animal and as a savage, but to an American foreign policy that has turned the people it has occupied and whose lives it has utterly destroyed into angry “beasts”.
But I will not stop here…because as I said before there are many levels to the story…the other levels being– the hyper sexualization of the Other, the perception of violence (when committed by the Other), the stubborn resistance of notions/concepts of “Sacredness & Sacrality” versus “West & Modernity” and last but not least a redefinition of meanings and concepts like “Democracy, Free speech” in the age of the American Empire.
S: To note in European countries, you can get arrested for “anti-Semitism” but not for anti Islam. Are we the “niggers” of the New World Order ?