Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Precisely which 1,000 words?

Guambat lives in a land of Old Sayings. His knowledge, such as it is, is distilled in homily and grits. Funny that, given his rather unorthodox meanderings long ago. Contrary-wise, given his rather orthodox meanderings of late.

Two sayings are called to mind in recent events: "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me." And, "a picture is worth a thousand words".

How many pictures does it take to harm me?

Egyptians angry at film scale U.S. embassy walls
Egyptian protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy on Tuesday, tore down the American flag and burned it during a protest over what they said was a film being produced in the United States that insulted Prophet Mohammad.

In place of the U.S. flag, the protesters tried to raise a black flag with the words "There is no God but God, and Mohammad is his messenger", a Reuters witness said.

Once the U.S. flag was hauled down, some protesters tore it up and showed off pieces to television cameras. Others burned the remains outside the fortress-like embassy building in central Cairo. But some protesters objected to the flag burning.

Many Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet to be offensive.

"This movie must be banned immediately and an apology should be made," said 19-year-old Ismail Mahmoud, a member of the so-called "ultras" soccer supporters who played a big role in the uprising that brought down Hosni Mubarak last year.

He called on President Mohamed Mursi, Egypt's first civilian president and an Islamist, to take action, without giving details of the film that angered him or other protesters.

About 20 people stood on top of the embassy wall, while about 2,000 protesters gathered outside. The demonstrators were mainly supporters of Islamist groups or "ultras" youths.

Rafik Farouk, 38, an Egyptian Christian, also took part. "I am here because I am Egyptian and reject anything that insults Islam or anything that sparks division in Egypt," he said.

Read more at the article headline link.

The Movie So Offensive That Egyptians Just Stormed the U.S. Embassy Over It
What exactly does the film say? It's still not clear, but it appears to compare Mohammed to a goat and Muslims, according to one translation, to "child-lovers." The New York Times' Liam Stack, offering some offhand translations of the scene shown above, called it a "doozy." The man in the scene says of his donkey, "This is the first Muslim animal." He asks the goat if it likes girls; when it doesn't answer, he bursts into laughter and says, "He doesn't like girls," according to Stack. Other scenes in the above clip seem to portray Muslim Egyptian characters, who for some reason all have strong New York accents, as immoral and violent, particularly toward the Christians whom they pursue with near-genocidal fervor. A number of Islam's founding figures, including the prophet, are accused of homosexuality and child molestation.

UPDATE 1: US ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff killed in rocket attack
The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, along with three other embassy staff, were killed Tuesday night following a rocket attack in Benghazi, Reuters quoted a Libyan official as saying.

The official told Reuters that Stevens was being driven from the consulate building to a safer location when the gunmen opened fire. "The US ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," the official in Benghazi told Reuters.

Deputy Minister of Interior Wanis Al-Sharif, speaking to AFP on Wednesday, also confirmed that the ambassador had been killed. Libya's Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur corroborated Al-Sharif's statement via Twitter.

For their part, a US embassy employee in Tripoli told Reuters, Wednesday, that they could only confirm one death during Tuesday's attacks. Concerning Stevens, the employee affirmed: "we have no information regarding this."

Al-Jazeera's Suleiman Idrissi in Benghazi reported that the ambassador had been paying a short visit to the Eastern city, when the US building came under attack.

Security sources told the pan-Arab news agency that Stevens died of suffocation. The bodies of the dead were transported to the Benghazi international airport, to be flown to Tripoli and then onwards to a major US airbase in Germany, Al Jazeera added.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was in Cairo Monday on an official visit to Egypt, condemned the attack in­­ a statement shortly after the news broke Wednesday morning.

"There is no justification for such an attack and the appalling death of an US official," Hague said, "The UK stands ready to assist the Libyan authorities in any way we can and to support their efforts to continue the path towards a stable and secure Libya that fulfils the aspirations of the Libyan people."

Hague urged the Libyan authorities to take "urgent action to improve security" and to find those responsible for the violence. He sent his condolences to Stevens' family and colleagues at the State Department.

Libya's Deputy Prime Minister also denounced the bloody attacks, calling them "cowardly acts" via his Twitter account.

Ignorance can be vile as well as bliss. Of course, ignorance can be found in the making of the movie as well as in the viewing of it. It's sort of like Through the Looking Glass, looking back on itself.

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