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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why Are Arab and African Muslims So Upset About the Dumb Video?

Posted by on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 8:42 AM


I got this answer from a Coptic Eritrean who is a marine biologist by training but makes a living as a taxi driver:
Before coming to the America I lived in Saudi Arabia and other countries in North Africa. And what I can tell you is this: The people in these counties, and also countries in East Africa, cannot believe that people in America actually speak for themselves and not for the government. Why? Because what they have seen all their lives is only the government speaking. When something is on TV, it is the government speaking. When something is in the newspapers, it is the government speaking. You see what I mean? Something on the internet, it is the government speaking again. The government never allows anyone else to speak. So, they think it is the same in America. That video about their prophet doing very bad, very evil things? That has to be the government speaking. So they go to the American embassy and try to burn it to the ground. They just can't believe a person can actually speak for themselves and not be in trouble with the government. This is what is going on.
His answer to why he is a taxi driver and not working in some capacity as a biologist: "Because it makes more money. I could go back home to Africa and get a nice job, but I would not make as much money as driving you and other people around Seattle."


Comments (29) RSS

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Interesting. That never would have occurred to me. I just assumed that people in the Middle East thought in the same way that I do.
Posted by floater on September 18, 2012 at 9:15 AM · Report this
That does not address why they are upset and violently reacting, it only explains why they are attacking the embassy. By this logic, if they knew who really made the video, they would still violently attack the producer.
Posted by mayday on September 18, 2012 at 9:16 AM · Report this
I agree with the taxi driver/marine biologist. I lived in a third world country for a while. I know what it's like, how natives of those countries assume everywhere else is like where they live. In less than a year, it was starting to mess with my head so I totally get what it's like for those who've lived there their whole lives. Propaganda is a bad thing, and it's their staple diet.
Posted by originalcinner on September 18, 2012 at 9:16 AM · Report this
These attacks happened because we are killing brown people at a rate unprecedented in western history, and we've been doing it for 30+ years. This isn't about the video; this is about military occupations in north africa and the middle east. It's about the US' imperialistic and neo-colonialist, globalist agenda. It's about secret wars and kill lists. It's about wealth extraction, big pharmaceutical rip offs.

The same motherfuckers who are ripping apart the safety net we worked hard for over the last 150 years are the same motherfuckers preventing these people from living their lives.

They have addresses and phone numbers.
Posted by TravisConquest on September 18, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Report this
Skeptika 5
Oh my god, I learned something from reading Charles Mudede today.
Posted by Skeptika on September 18, 2012 at 9:23 AM · Report this
@4 The US government has done some pretty horrible things in Latin America over the years. Yet, enraged mobs don't try to storm the US Embassy in Mexico City every time some right-wing crackpot makes a cheesy 10-minute video disparaging illegal immigrants.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 18, 2012 at 9:33 AM · Report this
Julie in Eugene 7
I agree with @5.
Posted by Julie in Eugene on September 18, 2012 at 9:44 AM · Report this
I suspect the protests have snowballed into a general release valve for all sorts of grievances toward the West, toward local economic conditions, wars, etc.
Posted by madcap on September 18, 2012 at 9:46 AM · Report this
Westlake, son! 9
Ah, that's such a simple and clear explanation. It bears repeating, I'll probably bring this up in conversation.
Posted by Westlake, son! on September 18, 2012 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Rachel Maddow talked a bit about this idea:…
Posted by Ixcila on September 18, 2012 at 10:19 AM · Report this
Not sure I believe it, but it would shoot a hole in the argument that angry people in these countries are simply jealous of our freedom.
Posted by cliche on September 18, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Report this
He makes a good point, and I'm not disputing his point --- but there's a great deal of surrounding information to suggest that Saudi Arabia is behind this, anything to counter and interdict any possible pro-democracy movements.

Saudi Arabia is a schizoid country: one side is the sycophantic oil zillionaires, and on the other the Wahabist fundamental extremist psychos --- and together they see their future profit in promoting an eventual war situation between the North African Muslim countries and lower Europe --- pumps up the price of oil, war moves more oil, plus the spread of Islamic extremism, etc.
Posted by sgt_doom on September 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Your conversation with this man is interesting but it fails to explain something else. Even if the US government approved or put out this video it would be no different that anti-semetic hate speech put out by Islamic governments all the time. Muslims flocked to see Mel Gibson's Passion of Christ. So they were perfectly happy to think the US governement put out a movie depicting Jews and savages then turn around a freak out when they think the US gov't is doing the same to them? Protocols of Zion was made into a mini series by Egypt. The President of Iran held a Holocaust Cartoon and Denial Conference. So Muslims have no problem with governments putting out hate speech, as long as its not towards them!
Posted by jillian 1983 on September 18, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
"Jews and savages"
"Jews as savages"
Posted by jillian 1983 on September 18, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Wicked Virgin 15
@5 I know! This was pertinent to current affairs and genuinely interesting. I don't know how to react. This is... weird.
Posted by Wicked Virgin on September 18, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 16


On this day in 1958, anti-American demonstrators pelt then-Vice President Richard Nixon's limousine with rocks in Caracas, Venezuela.

In his book Six Crises, Nixon recounted that day's frightening events. With only 12 Secret Service agents for protection, his motorcade encountered hundreds of angry protestors who spit on his car, smashed its windows and rocked it from side to side, threatening to turn it over while chanting Death to Nixon! and Nixon Go Home! The Secret Service radioed for help from the Venezuelan military, which dispatched troops to clear the protestors and escorted the motorcade to safety.

Posted by keshmeshi on September 18, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
@13, muslims flocked to see Mel Gibson's crap? Really? I thought that was evangelical Christians renting out the theaters and showing it to an empty house.
Posted by GermanSausage on September 18, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
@17 It was very popular in the Islamic world. The President of Syria proclaimed it was a movie that accurately portrays how Jews act. I didn't say that it was not popular in this country or among Christians also. My point was that if in the Islamic world they believe that these movies are put our by our government they are perfectly happy when it depicts Jews as savages. When it depicts them as savages they go into spasms of violences for months on end and kill innocent people in revenge sometimes years after the insult. There are still occasional murders done to avenge the Prophet Mohammad cartoon from Denmark over 6 years ago.
If you don't get the irony that when a movie depicts Jews as violent savages the President of an Islamic county says its accurate, although Jews who were offended over the movie did not act like violent savages over it. When Muslims are depicted as violent savages thousands react by acting like it.
Posted by jillian 1983 on September 18, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 19
@16: I think hurling rocks at the limousine of the man actually responsible for the problems is a bit different than multiple violent riots springing up in different countries, directed against the United States as a monolithic whole, while killing many people who had nothing to do with the cause of the riots.

Especially when there is no actual oppression or government intervention occuring. It is a completely different scenario in just about every way.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on September 18, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 20
Oh, and hey Jillian @18:

If you are going to make sane, rational comments, please register so we all can see them. Most of us (myself included) almost never read the unregistered comments, due to the cowardly trolls that dominate them.

Posted by Theodore Gorath on September 18, 2012 at 11:55 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 21

Nixon was vice-president at the time. You think he was the one "responsible"? And responsible for what exactly?

Protesters are "attacking" the embassies because those are the most visible examples of U.S. influence in the Middle East/North Africa.

And it still puts the lie to #6's contention that there's something specifically wrong with Muslims that they react violently.
Posted by keshmeshi on September 18, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
@21 I don't deny that similar incidents have happened in other parts of the world. However, moslems in general and arab moslems in particular seem especially prone to outbursts of homicidal rage against the United States. The incident you described in the earlier post happened 54 years ago and the attackers do not seem to have been as determined. In Libya the US Consulate's attackers engaged in an extended gun battle with State Department security personnel, before finally breaking in and killing the ambassador.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 18, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
venomlash 23
@2: The embassies and consulates are in the Middle East. The filmmakers are a couple continents over.
When a mosquito bites you and flies off, do you hunt it down, or do you just take out your anger on any other mosquitoes in the vicinity?
Posted by venomlash on September 18, 2012 at 1:22 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 24

It's been all but confirmed that those attackers planned their assault independently of the video's release and used the protesters for cover. Most of the rest of the protests have been of the rock throwing and yelling variety. And of course you denied it. Don't try to backtrack now. You think everyone outside of the Arab world is immune to irrational hatred and violence.
Posted by keshmeshi on September 18, 2012 at 1:30 PM · Report this
"However, moslems in general and arab moslems in particular seem especially prone to outbursts of homicidal rage against the United States."

And yet there are millions of Muslims living peacefully in the USofA right now.
So by your logic there should be Muslims killing other Americans every day.
Maybe every other day.
Every week?
But that does not seem to be happening.
Probably because you get your "information" about "Muslims" and "Arabs" from right-wing sites instead of from actual Muslims.

Get out of your bubble and visit a Mosque.

But you're the same person who claimed that a black fireman was more likely to commit a crime than a white fireman.

I think that is the core of your problem.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 18, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
lark 26
That's an intriguing response from the taxi driver. After reading that I just saw this picture of Pakistani demonstrators burning Pres. Obama in effigy:…

Previous 4 of 29 Next…

Whatever their logic for the protests, their reaction to the film smacks of barbarism. BTW, I never viewed the film nor do I want to.
Posted by lark on September 18, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 27
that's excellent advice, fairly, to get out of your bubble and visit a mosque. also, remember, western world dwellers, islam is not a religion. it is a way of life.
Posted by scary tyler moore on September 18, 2012 at 2:15 PM · Report this
I'm glad you included a picture. Otherwise, I'd have thought you outsourced your column to Tom Friedman.
Posted by Joe Glibmoron on September 18, 2012 at 9:45 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 29
@21: I do not agree with the assertion that there is something genetically/philosophically wrong with muslims, and that is why they act this way. Simply suggesting that the comparison you made was not apt.

However, there are cultural and historical factors that drives this kind of response over and over, just like there are cultural and historical factors that drive so many Americans to reject sensible gun control measures.

Part of it is a hisory of getting dicked over by foreigners, part of it is lving in grinding poverty with no way out, and part of it is that there is a powerful and dangerous fundamental movement in that religion/region that creates men who will launch an RPG into a building because of a cartoon. The same factor also drives some Americans to bomb abortion clinics.

Posted by Theodore Gorath on September 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM · Report this

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