Unsurprisingly, the UN Gets it Exactly Wrong

Perhaps Ban Ki-Moon is just scared “someone” will level another UN compound.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly condemned the Internet broadcast of a video made by the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, describing it as “offensively anti-Islamic,” while he also called on those upset by the film to remain calm.

Hello, Mr. Secretary-General, these are people who get upset about cartoons. They are as likely to remain calm as they are to be rational.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson after last night’s airing of the film, entitled Fitna, Mr. Ban said “there is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence. The right of free expression is not at stake here.”

This is only an incitement to violence among a set of people who are already irrational and violent. I can’t comment on the “hate speech” aspect of it, as I have yet to view the video (but I will try this weekend).

I’ll take this speech seriously when Ban Ki-Moon takes the world stage to protest Ben Stein’s cinematic idiocy, in which atheists / evolutionists are regularly juxtaposed with Nazi imagery. I’ll still think the UN should find better things to do though. As ill-informed and dishonest as the hacks behind “Expelled” happen to be, I have no desire to blow them up, cut off their heads, or ask for a fatwa.

Freedom of speech is exactly what is at stake here. No one is frightened of the words and images that Mr. Wilders is putting forth; they are frightened that a crazy, killin’ subset of Islam will go ape-shit about it and take out some civilians to show Allah how much they love him.

Is the Secretary General dishonest or stupid?

“I acknowledge the efforts of the Dutch Government to stop the broadcast of this film and appeal for calm to those understandably offended by it. Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility.”

I agree completely.

When someone says something with which you disagree, something that even offends your sensibilities, you have a social responsibility to not kill them for it.

Man, that’s hard to get your head around, isn’t it?

Also, this is not the same as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. Hurrying to escape from a burning building is a rational action, so it is understandable that people might get injured. Blowing yourself or others up because they drew a picture of or talked smack about your Prophet is, to put it mildly, absolutely insane.

It’s bad enough that so many people in the world embrace religious myths; it’s worse that they will happily kill because of them.

6 Responses to “Unsurprisingly, the UN Gets it Exactly Wrong”

  1. Jeff Says:

    You can view it here:
    http://www.disillusionedwords.com/?p=97

  2. Jeff Says:

    Let me add that Ban Ki-moon also refused to condemn the Burmese Junta’s murder of monks and has not condemned the Chinese murder of Tibetan monks. I say more about it here: http://www.disillusionedwords.com/?p=99

    Good post. But you should check out the film, I honestly cant’s fathom how it can be considered worthy of the UN Chief’s time. Mr. Ban ought to be doing something about Sudan, China, Burma, Iran, North Korea, etc., etc., etc. Instead he wastes time on what is equivalent to a sternly written note to a filmmaker.

    “I acknowledge the efforts of the Dutch Government to stop the broadcast of this film”
    In other words, “I acknowledge the efforts of the Dutch Government to censor criticism of Islam”

  3. marie Says:

    I found my way here through another parenting blog I happen to be Muslim and a journalist and also a parent and understand the anger and shock when you see outrage at anything. Kind of like when our veterans get angry for people burning the U.S. flag.

    There are masses of people, who when emotional, take to the streets to protest, much like Americans did against outright racism and hard to believe but not long ago we still had separate drinking fountains. Rodney King took place in 1992.

    I will probably check out the movie because i believe in being knowledgeable about what the heck is being protested about.
    I don’t blame the govt. officials for trying to urge calm and ask for people to show a sense of responsibility. otherwise they will be the ones fired from their posts.
    Two things:

    1) I consider myself an educated Muslim, who doesn’t go all crazy over anything against Islam. Infact, most Muslims are not afraid of criticism or intelligent analysis of Islam. We know it stands for itself, just ask the many non-Muslim scholars who have spent their lives studying/writing about Islam.
    2) These were editorial cartoons – not your run of the mill Wizard of Id comic strip. Editorial cartoons are drawn to make a point, an opinion. These cartoons could have just been easily been effective by choosing a leader or a govt. official as a character. Truth is, the illustrators wanted to hit it where it hurts. And it did, and people protested the way they wanted to. Some on the streets, some in newspapers. they have a right to protest just like you have a right to protest. I don’t condone any violence but humanity has always had violence in its history.

    There are malicious people out there on all sides. People who want to stir up hate. Or going out of their way to make movies just to cause trouble.
    It’s like somebody called your mother a bitch or your sister a whore, if you were half the man any man should be – you’d be throwing down punches.

    You won’t find Muslims making a mockery out of Jesus and Abraham and Moses, who are all beloved prophets in Islam. Without our belief in them, we wouldn’t be Muslims.***

  4. marie Says:

    Don’t get me wrong: I don’t not believe in protesting something, esp. something discriminatory or hateful or intentionally misleading etc. etc.
    Kind of like when airlines choose to lie about how safe their planes are.
    I may choose a diff method than burning cars or causing community damage. But i’ve got NO DARN PROBLEM protesting anyone who chooses to put out misinformation about a subject matter that is dear to my heart. We’ve all got that streak in us.

  5. andy Says:

    Marie –

    Please note that I never said anything about Islam itself.

    Yes, I find it to be a myth, a story, chock full of both beautiful sentiments and human horror, just like Christianity and Judaism. There are plenty of good Muslims just as there are plenty of good Christians and Jews, but they are good in spite of believing in their mythologies. Our religions, among their more peaceful platitudes, also contain the seeds of hatred and intolerance.

    If someone calls my mother a bitch, they can do so. If they do it to my face, there may be a fight, but more likely than not I will shrug it off because I know my mother better than they do. I’m not going to kill someone over it. I’m not going to orchestrate protests in the street. I’m not going to pillage and burn and ruin neighborhoods because of it.

    The bigger difference is that mothers and sisters are REAL. Our relationships with them are REAL. God or Jesus or Allah or Muhammed is just pretend, and defending the pride of pretend people is just SILLY.

    Good lord, next we’ll have some Emily Bronte fan stepping up to say that Heathcliff was a fabulous dude and how dare we talk about him!

  6. Jeffrey Stingerstein Says:

    “It’s like somebody called your mother a bitch or your sister a whore, if you were half the man any man should be – you’d be throwing down punches.”

    That is the kind of ludicrous statement that tells of some of the BS underlying many issues of violence. “if you were half the man any man should be”. What? Ever heard of being the grown up and walking away? That’s the difference here. Picking on a prophet does not justify having one’s embassy burnt to the ground. People should be protesting against THAT! And against people having their heads cut off. And against women being banned form driving. And against women being stoned to death. With all the problems in the world, the most these protesters get upset about are cartoon and films? That’s pathetic.

    And while it seems to be true that 99.9% of Muslims are peace loving, chill people, it is the .1% who we need to be worried about. And .1% is millions of people. Maybe the clerics who call for the murder of “infidels” should be protested against.

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