After recovering from the shocking news out of Egypt and Libya I had a moment to pause and reflect upon the events that occurred, and what impact it would have upon a world in transition going forward into the 21st century. The schema of these two attacks upon American embassies appear to have sprung from one coordinating trigger source, although the style of the attacks were different in Egypt than the bloody and possibly planned attack in Libya. It is the problem of the trigger source as a uncontrolled outlaw mechanism that I believe that the world must address. The discussion continues below following the orange squiggle.
As a disclaimer I will admit that I have no statistical data to certify some of my observations which are grounded to my satisfaction in the connectivity of well-known facts and everyday common knowledge, something my mother used to call “Mother’s wit”. Now back to my analysis of the uncontrolled trigger source for Muslim mob outrage and rampage. Here is a factual observation: if a serious force exists in human society that is available to many people; and it can be manipulated with relative impunity, you can be assured that it will see ever expanding use until it is brought under unconditional control. Let’s lay out some facts that are pertinent to recent sectarian violence in the Middle East.
(1) Arab Islamic populations will explode in mob directed violence in reaction to anything that they perceive as anyway disrespectful of the name, teachings and memory of the founder and leader of Islam, the Prophet Mohammed.
(2) The invention and use of the Internet by western nations has spread across the world, its speed and accessibility breeching every border of every nation in the world.
(3) The most significant revolutionary aspect of the Internet has been its use as the exclusive platform for social media, not just on an intra-nation basis, but on a worldwide inter-nation basis. The clumsiness of language translation is also rapidly falling away through the video and pictorial content of international social media, as transported by the World Wide Internet.
Given the three factual statements listed above it may be concluded that the Internet has been woven across the world covering virtually every nation – and this revolutionary new medium is available for independent unsupervised interactive use by millions of people – and finally the content of the material available is also uncontrolled (in most places) and uncensored and is also available to millions of viewers.
The power of the Internet’s social media websites was demonstrated as the tool which spread the flame of revolution across many Middle Eastern countries as part of the widespread insurrection which became known as the “Arab Spring”. The Internet’s social media was used to galvanize and coordinate the various resistance groups which were ultimately successful in overthrowing dictators throughout the Middle East. In the midst of the joyous celebrations that were observed by viewers all over the world, an ominous worrisome fact made its presence felt by its dire silence in the midst of the noisy celebratory occasions. This fact is simply that the social media platforms are essentially a two edged sword – under the controlled use of those fighting for peace and justice it is a powerful weapon. Likewise under the use of those who would publicize lies and deliberate incendiary misinformation designed to manipulate the emotions of certain sectarian masses to the point of explosive mob violence – this is the other side of the Internet’s social media sword. This is the side of the social media sword that we observed taking its toll in Egypt and Libya.
(I am continuing to include the American deaths and destruction in Libya even though the investigation as to whether the attack in Libya was a planned attack by some Libyan militant anti-American organization using the planning typical of al-Qaeda terrorist groups. It is a well-known tactic of al-Qaeda to launch multiple attacks simultaneously at different locations that are generally great distances apart. On 9-11 the al-Qaeda attacks took place in New York, and at the Pentagon. The third attack was targeted for the White House but the airplane was subsequently taken over from the terrorists by the heroic passengers onboard and never made it to its target.)
The problem that currently exists is with the uncontrolled other side of the Internet social media sword is that can be easily be used to foment mob rampages in Arab Muslim countries. I am not specifying exactly how this despicable inflammatory movie “Innocence of the Muslims” was actually transported into the Middle East for Arab Muslim viewing. However with the availability of You Tube and other widely used video websites on a worldwide basis streaming video is likewise available. So the question becomes who should be responsible for “blunting” the other side of the social media two edge sword?
Looking further down the road it becomes crystal clear that the Muslim faithful have to be made insensitive to these types of shadowy attacks on their Prophet and Islam in general. The simple gist of the matter is this: the Muslim faithful need their emotional responses (which fiercely defend their religion) brought up into the technological realities of the 21st century. In times as recent as immediately preceding the age of computer engineering, the world’s boundaries were still effectively in place, and data/ information flow moved exclusively via physical transport, i. e., carried, shipped, or mailed to destinations. Such transport was restrained due to time and space constraints. So the mischievous creation of sacrilegious material designed to inflame thousands of Arab Muslims was never even imagined (except for the Hollywood screen writers who wrote the scripts for some of the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “on the Road” comedy movies).
The re-education of the Muslim faithful is the exclusive responsibility of the Imams and the Ayatollahs. I am sure that these wise men (and some women) are very much aware that this task must begin at some point for if no other reason than it is time for 21st century Islam. It is important to realize that the survival of all institutions require their adaptability to the times and the social evolution of the faith’s adherents. While it is true that all religious leaders are guardians of the essence of that region’s core values, they are also tasked with crafting the proper accommodation of the religion’s tenets so as to seamlessly adapt with the profound dynamics of human social evolution. This is the task that awaits the firm creative touch of teachers of Islam and as such will naturally achieve the “blunting “of the other side of the sword of the expanding Internet worldwide social media.
UPDATE: Since I wrote this the anti-American protests have now spread to 17 countries across the Middle East. Currently worries about the security of our embassies are shared with a cautious hope that these demonstrations will slowly die out over the weekend. In this regard the world will continue to monitor the news emerging from this highly unstable part of the world.