First of all the Coptic Egyptian who made the film (it wasn’t even an American) has the right to make it and everyone needs to chill out.
Second, I find it fascinating and outrageous that not only is the film being positioned as a cause of the riots by the group who were responsible for them (a rather tragic stance for them), but that the film being the cause is being reaffirmed by the United States. It doesn’t just stop at claiming the film is “responsible”–but as describing the riot as spontaneous when it was in fact organized. Why is the United States–and, it seems, every Western nation–choosing to believe this? That the reprehensible film resulted in a random outburst of anguish against the freedom of speech?
Unfortunately I don’t think it is out of a (detrimental) desire to be sensitive as so many conservatives claim. And those who are liberal and claiming the same–they are either truly fooling themselves or attempting to masque the real cause so that through their own ideology they can reach the same conclusions as the conservatives: that the rioters hate our freedom, that they do not understand the concept of free speech. The liberals respond with (possibly pretentious) sensitivity, and the conservatives respond with war, but the conclusion is the same, and it is incorrect.
But its convenience–for both sides–lies in its simplicity: accepting that they hate our freedom of speech means we don’t have to reexamine relations between the United States and Egypt or look at the geopolitical context. After all, it is routine that this particular building has the most security out of any other–you can’t just walk up to it without being stopped and your motives questioned; so why were the rioters able to simply walk up to it, especially around 9/11? Was an attack truly not expected?
The answer could be “yes” (if this is even what happened–there seems to be conflating information) but not because those in charge really believed that they could just “be nice and these people would behave.” It was rather because the United States is so accustomed to interfering with the politics of other nations to an extent that we would NEVER allow from any other country without the same consequence with which WE would respond that we had become arrogant enough to believe they wouldn’t.
Egypt (the protestors who climbed the walls of the embassy in Cairo after Stevens was killed in Libya) has just overthrown a dictator that for a few excruciating decades had been successfully supported by the United States and there was talk of an IMF loan to Egypt (which would further open the country to not just foreign influence but foreign investment in their economy) and the US is funding its military. And when we are there, we strategically serve our own interests–at the expenses of the Egyptians and at our own. (Not to mention we are still needlessly in Afghanistan and for some reason in Iraq.)
From the moment this happened I knew it wasn’t because of a film–that’s not to say the film is an “excuse.” The film rather is a “last straw.” The attack on the embassy in Cairo following the one in Libya was not an attack on America but an attack on American intervention of Egyptian affairs. This is why it is so crucial for Egypt to establish its own democracy without Western influence. It restores a fundamental inseparable right of a people to determine their own government, and the morality of this principle on which America was founded means less war and less hostility. And it means more opportunity for us to focus on our own defense and build it in the event of an attack against a single nation (rather than five total wastes of military occupation).
They don’t hate our freedom; they hate that we think it’s ours.
The Libyan government has condemned the attacks. The Egyptian government has not. And that is very telling. We should not have supported a dictator who governs without the consent of his people. We stopped being American.
It’s totally pathetic that we needed to depend on a dictator in another country (and at the compromise of our own American principles!) to keep us safe. If we had been building our defense instead of wasting it, we would not be so afraid of democracy in another country and needing to destroy America by destroying its principles to save it. The only reason Egypt’s uprising was alarming to conservatives is such an arrogant one–as arrogant if not more than liberals assuming no one would dare attack the embassy.