Thursday, September 20, 2012

Violence in the Middle East and Mitt Romney

I haven't posted here in a few days as I have been waiting for some time to pass after the violent attacks on the American Embassy in  Libya, which took the lives of the American Ambassador and three of the embassy staff. At this same time the American Embassy in Egypt was attacked by a violent mob of protesters. The reason for these violent protests was a film, which insulted Islam and was shown on YouTube. These incidents happened on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. Soon violence spread to many other Muslim countries. Were these planned attacks or just random acts of violence carried out by a group of protesters gone crazy? In those first few hours there were very few answers. It appeared that the Muslim world had suddenly decided to attack the US and other Western interests. People in the US and other Western countries responded with hate filled anger, in comments on online forums and news sites.

It now appears that a couple of ignorant radicals,  one a supposed Egyptian American, Coptic Christian and the other a right wing American Christian extremist, produced the film, which was in no way professionally done, to denigrate an entire religion. The sleazy film, which had be around for a while, but not garnering any attention, was discovered by a religious leader in
Egypt who brought it to the attention of his followers. It then spread throughout the region, causing demonstrations and riots against the US and also other Western countries

The media then gave 24 hour coverage to the violence. What was not covered were the pro-American rallies in some of these very same countries. The average person did not realize that these demonstrations were comprised of people who only last year were living under brutal dictatorships in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. They now have a voice. Unfortunately there are groups in these countries who are opposed not only to the US, but also the governments of their own countries. They are opposed to democracy and freedoms and rights that go along with democracy. People in the countries of "the Arab spring" are stuggling to find themselves. They do not understand the West's concept of freedom of speech. But this is no excuse for murder and destruction, in revenge for someone not agreeing with your views and beliefs.

Just as Americans should not judge and entire religion or culture on the actions of a few religious extremists fueled by hatred and bigotry, the Muslim world should not judge all Americans and our government on the actions of a few deranged radicals in America. Today demonstrations continue, albeit not as intense. It will be a long time before we fully understand what happened in these violent attacks and we should all refrain from making rash judgements and generalizations. It will also be a long time before these new democracies realize what they are and where they want to go.

In speaking of people not making rash judgements, I am referring to everyone, citizens and politicians alike. Seeing these attacks were terrifying, but there was another event that was also worrisome, if not terrifying, that I cannot stop thinking about. Before we even knew that our Ambassador to Libya was killed and the extent of what was happening in Libya and Egypt, the Republican candidate for president, Mitt Romney, irresponsibly took it upon himself to score political points by attacking President Obama and the Embassy staff. Even after it was revealed that the Ambassador and 3 other staff were killed, Romney continued to attack Obama, even though Romney knew absolutely nothing of the situation. He did not even have the common decency to offer his condolences to the families of the deceased. Even his fellow Republicans were amazed at his lack of judgment, concern and sympathy.

This is the man who is talking tough on Iran and the man who does not believe in a Palestinian state. Instead of first trying to get the facts about these recent attacks and trying to understand the reasons behind them, he talks boldly of retribution. We're finally getting out of the 2 wars Bush saddled us with and which destroyed our economy. Do we really want Romney to lead us to war in Iran, North Korea or Russia? It is enough to have to worry about ignorant bigoted extremists of the religious radical groups in the Middle East and here, without having to worry about ignorant, insensitive war mongers leading our country.

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