As I’ve read more and more commentary about the recent spate of violence against US Embassies and citizens in the Middle East, and heard more in the news about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that we never learn. We have forgotten the lessons we have been taught by strong leaders who weren’t afraid to stand up and say “NO!”
I’ve written before about the tendency for parents these days to abdicate their responsibility toward parenting their children. This tendency has made its way to the White House and State Department. Duck and blame, but don’t blame the bully, blame the bullied. The situation with the “offending film” (which by the way probably would never have seen the light of day had this never happened) is said to be the cause of the violence against the US around the world. This is an incredibly stupid statement. The cause of violence is the choice people make to rape, murder and burn in the name of God, who is probably in His heaven doing a serious facepalm!
Here’s an interesting parallel. In 1989 an artist put a crucifix in a jar of urine, took a picture and called it art, later another artist covered a statue of the Virgin Mary with elephant dung and called it art. When Christians protested (with words, not violence or murder) the answer from the left was “it’s art and free expression so we don’t care if you don’t like it.”
Ok, fair enough. I don’t like it and find the “art” incredibly offensive, but so be it. In the same year as “Piss Christ”, 1989, an author named Salaman Rushdie wrote a book and was threatened with death and the Middle East rose up with violence. That he is alive 23 years later isn’t because the US Government protected him, but because his friends stood up for him.
Now another artist (i.e. filmmaker) makes a piece of art (the film) and the Middle East goes bonkers over the offense. Except instead of just threatening the artist, they target the US by burning our embassies, killing our citizens and soldiers and throw a temper tantrum that would make a 2 year old proud. Response from the same left who said “it’s art and free expression”? An incredible: “that filmmaker should be put in jail!” Wait… what???
As responsible parents, we teach our children that if someone is bullying them walk away. If that doesn’t work, tell an adult. As a nation, we have walked too far, and we are not acting like adults by blaming the victim. There comes a time when you can no longer placate the bully.
Radical Islam is the bully. They are determined to impose their way of life and Sharia law on the rest of the world. If we don’t knuckle under to their demands, they resort to threats, violence and fear to get their way. Isn’t that the definition of a bully? We, as the most free and strongest nation need to be the adult. We need to say to the bully “No, that’s not ok. You may not do that to others.”
What we have learned is that using our words in this situation doesn’t work. Negotiation makes us look weak in the Middle Eastern eyes. Apologizing to the world for the artistic license of a single person makes us pathetic. We need to show strength and fortitude.
In 1979, Iranian militants and students seized our Embassy and took 52 American’s hostage. They were held for 444 days. The hostage takers knew that then President, Jimmy Carter, would do nothing to free them (aside from endless negotiating and one weak attempt to rescue them). Carter did finally get them to sign the Algiers Accords, but only because he had lost the election and the Iranian government was rightfully afraid of what a strong conservative President would do to free our citizens – because he told them in no uncertain words what the consequences of their actions would be. Their release just minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President is not a coincidence.
This is yet another situation where we need to show strength. Not through reciprocal violence. I have friends whose knee jerk reaction to the uprisings was to “bomb the hell out of them!” That isn’t the answer. We should stand up to the bully by taking away what means the most to them: cut off the billions in funding that goes from the US Treasury to the coffers of Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan. Once the money faucet has shut off, we should then calmly tell those governments that when they can control the temper tantrums of their extremists, we might consider reinstating it.
To those who would argue that the poor in those countries would be hurt and it would make more of them hate the US, wake up! They already do hate us. Why should we let them bite the hand that feeds them? In the meantime, people in the US are hungry, homeless and Lord knows we could put those billions to much better use right here at home.
We are strong, we are free and we are right when we stand up for the rights of all. Expression through art is a First Amendment Freedom always, not just when it insults everyone but Muslims.
Image:courtesy of: Bully Free Zone; Uploaded by Doktory; Eddie~S