Every once in awhile a book or a film comes along that changes everything. There are those rare confluences of brilliance when a work of art cuts to the heart of the world’s great debates and with subtlety and insight expresses truths and beliefs, fears and hopes that drive people. More importantly, they come along at just the right time, when people and cultures have been stoked to just the right degree to kindle a blaze felt across the world and down the ages.
Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was one example. Uncle Tom’s Cabin another, and ‘Sam Bacile’s’ Innocence of Muslims…not even close.
As I write this, Islamic militants and mobs that have been driven to a frenzy are rioting, ostensibly in protest of a film mocking Muhammad, a film which I suspect does not exist, judging by the thirteen-minute trailer, which manages to hit every salient plot point such a movie would make (the only twist I could imagine would be if Muhammad’s unknown father was actually Satan, and from the flames surrounding him at the end, I’m guessing it’s a possibility).
A few quick comments on the trailer itself, which I suspect is the movie entire: under other circumstances I might call it a brilliant satire. As a comedy, it works, but objectively I consider it reprehensible for two reasons.
1) The denigration of homosexuals and
2) It was made under false pretenses.
The only true and direct victims of this movie were the actors, who will now face real danger from Muslim fanatics. We live in a society that values free speech, but there are ugly realities to consider. When Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo Van Gogh made Submission, they took great care to protect the identities of all involved, and for good reason as Van Gogh could attest. Likewise when Geert Wilders made Fitna he took similar precautions.
But while ‘Sam Bacile,’ whose real name I don’t even care to discover, attempted to conceal his own identity, proving he was aware of violent repercussions, he took no such care with his actors, who were deceived into risking their lives and their families.
The movie could have been made another way, through puppets or animation, but this is how he chose to make his points about Muhammad, and this makes ‘Bacile’ vile.
I honor anyone who would willingly put their life on the line for free speech, but this was the act of a coward who sought anonymity for himself and had no regard for others, nor any compunction about using them.
Okay, I’m done talking about the movie itself. Please, everyone do the same.
The idea that this movie has anything to do with the current turmoil is a smokescreen. I fully believe ‘Sam Bacile’ or whatever his name is was horrified at the results. I don’t for a minute think he foresaw violence of this scale would come as a consequence of his movie – and it hasn’t.
These clips have been circulating for some time before the riots. By accounts, the embassy attack that assassinated (that’s right, assassinated) many good and heroic people was coordinated and involved heavily armed terrorists.
What ‘Bacile’ did, and all he did, was inadvertently hand our enemies a propaganda tool, a way for them to manipulate the religious sentiments and outrage of their fellow Muslims, and to divert and distract us as to the reality of the situation.
But if not his movie, they’d have found some other pretext.
Make no mistake: this was a well-planned, premeditated attack, launched on the anniversary of September 11. That is the point that matters. That is the point that’s real. That is the point that’s being lost.
Innocence of Muslims was a silly distraction, a sideshow used cynically and deliberately by our enemies to confuse us and conceal the true reality of their crimes. Crimes against us and against the Arab people by those who have worked to subvert the brief glimmer of hope offered by the Arab Spring and transform the Middle East into a theocratic nightmare.
For the past few years, fanatical Muslim protestors have disrupted Armistice Day in England, jeering and burning poppies during the moment of silence. Insulting and assaulting infidels in moments of emotional vulnerability is a long standing tactic of jihadists, dating back to Islam’s founding days, when no treaty or religious event of dar al Harb was respected.
The movie is trivial. It is cinematic graffiti from a vile little man who has played into the hands of much, much bigger monsters – the biter bit, the hawk under the eagle’s foot, the spider in the steel web, to quote Tolkien – and is now in over his head. For his new alias, he might try Lotho ‘Pimple’ Sackville-Baggins.
Ignore the sideshow and look at the realities. They chose to strike on a day of national mourning and the anniversary of mass murder with the goal of making it all about Islam and how offended Muslims are.
Do not let them, and do not elevate repulsive scum like ‘Sam Bacile’ to the status of hero or monster. Neither he nor his work merits it.