Student,

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The tense relations between Libya and the USA

The recent assassination of Chris Stevens, an ambassador of the United States of America in Libya, was a reaction to an american video, which portrayed Prophet Muhammad as a fraud and compared the Islamic religion to cancer.

However, the relationship between these two countries has a further history. Do you know anything more specific about their previous conflicts? Was this assassination a trigger for something bigger? Or was it only supposed to mask the real issues of the Arab world?

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    Sep 16 2012: The reaction to a Coptic christian crackpot film backed by some evangelicals is predictable but sad.

    This is religion crossing the line. Forcing their particular religious taboos on others, and with threats of death.

    Simply unacceptable.

    Religion can unfortunately be an exacerbating force. When you feel you have the creator of the universe instructing you to act a certain way, when you have the absolute truth, it may intensify tribalism.

    Most the issues in the middle east are the basics, land, oil, control, local and international power plays. Religion just makes the whole mess worse. Especially fundamentalist religion whether Christian, Jewish or Islamic.

    I also wonder if moderate religion breeds fundamentalist beliefs, is cover for extreme faith?

    We need more sane atheists.
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    Sep 15 2012: I, like everyone, have an opinion. Over the last twenty years we have come to know the Arab world better than before. It is a fact that rulers and dictators have taken much and the people have been neglacted. As America has shown interest and supprot in some of theses countries its presence has been made known to the people. When people say why are we so poor and you are so rich .... The Americans are to blame. Why are there no jobs ... the Americans are to blame. Why do we not have world trade or position ... its those pesky Americans. We know that Shaws, dictators, kings, etc .. have stolen billions and have pointed blame to somewhere else to maintain control. This was done through the government and the religions. It is so inbred into the common man that others are to blame for his lot in life that it is not only accepted but passed on to the next generation.

    This type of indoctrination makes the riots and uprisings easy to achieve as this is just another example of the Americans interfering in our lives and attempting to destroy us and our religion.

    To be fair it is not only the US that this hate has been directed at. When a leader says XYZ is responsible the hate is transfered there. It is easy to redirect the focus where you want when you have such a tool.

    As long as this "control" exists over the people the problems of the common man and indeed the middle East as a whole will remain. My hope is that someday through education and open communications the citizens will begin to understand and promote change for the good. Change is occuring in closed countries even today by use of cell phones and the internet.

    This is just an opinion and it feels right to me.

    Thanks for allowing me to rant. Bob.
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    Sep 15 2012: When you call something "an American video," it makes it sound like it was somehow sponsored or promoted by America rather than that someone living in America was a part of the production of the film.
    • Sep 15 2012: My apologies, I never meant to accuse the USA, but that is the information available on the web sites, almost cited.
      It is only supposed to inform about the source the video had come from, but that of course does not mean it was an official document created by the government to mock Islam.
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        Sep 15 2012: Oh, I wasn't offended at all, Katarina. I just think that there is a difference between a person living in America being permitted because we have freedom of speech to do something and America doing it. Some may think there is no difference between these two, as freedom of expression is part of American values some people may find offensive in itself..
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          Sep 15 2012: Dear Fritzie, Sorry to say but freedom of speech does not mean that you start abusing someone and for your information this movie does not offended "some people" but the Muslims ( exceeding one Billion now) all over the world if you do not believe me you should read the newspaper of Muslim countries and try to get information from the friends who are living in Muslim communities. Personally I respect all the people whether they are Americans or Afghans but if one do something wrong all the country is blamed.
        • Sep 16 2012: "Dear Fritzie, Sorry to say but freedom of speech does not mean that you start abusing someone"

          Freedom of speech gives you the right to offend groups of people, because the alternative (heckler's veto) is so much worse (those hypocrites who say they are oh so "offended", and I know ithey are far from all 1 billion Muslims, are only offended when someone says something about Islam, you'll never see them protest when someone offends Jews or atheists). Freedom of speech doesn't mean you should offend, but it does protect you from prosecution if you absolutely feel the need to offend.
  • Sep 15 2012: "The recent assassination of Chris Stevens, an ambassador of the United States of America in Libya, was a reaction to an american video, which portrayed Prophet Muhammad as a fraud and compared the Islamic religion to cancer. "

    It was a planned assault carried out by fanatics who used the video (which had been out for a long time) as an excuse and had to enlist the help of lying imams and paid "spontaneous" protestors, just like with those Danish cartoon riots.

    However, the relationship between these two countries has a further history. Do you know anything more specific about their previous conflicts? Was this assassination a trigger for something bigger? Or was it only supposed to mask the real issues of the Arab world?

    There was of course the Gaddhaffi era where Libya was an ally of the Soviet Union and the PLO and an enemy of the United States (they carried out a few bombings such as Lockerbie and a German night club, in the 80s, followed by an American cruise missile strike on Gaddhaffi's palace, which killed one of his daughters), then mentally unstable Gaddhaffi suddenly changed his mind, got rid of his nuclear program, denounced 9/11 and Al-Qaida (which had supported a small Islamic rebellion in Libya), said the Palestinians as equally whack as the Israeli's in the early 2000's, and get good relatively good relations with the Bush administration in return. Prior to Gaddhaffi Libya was an insignificant territory ruled by a king for a while after WWII while having previously been a colony of Italy and the Ottoman Empire (though very loosely). The earliest contacts between the US and Libya were in the early 1800s when Libyan pirates were known to attack American ships, until the American navy retaliated.

    The "assassination" of the ambassador was just an act of terrorism, nothing more, the man was actually quite popular in Libya because he coordinated American efforts in the recent civil war. Libya is an ally of the US now.
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      Sep 16 2012: Hi, John. I am replying to your post that I think was meant for Noveed rather than for me.

      I am assuming, John, that you are either an American or are basically familiar with how freedom of speech is defined within the Constitution of the USA and the case law that establishes its boundaries.

      We understand, then, that when these two movie makers residing in the United States, both of whom call themselves Coptic Christians, released their film, such material does not in this country go through any process of government censoring or approval prior to release. People's speech in this country is not controlled that way.
      Things just get released freely into the world- lots and lots of stuff every day. As the process works differently in countries in which the government tightly controls the media and people's speech, it is no wonder that people from other countries would not be familiar with this difference.

      I was trying to remember- when Salman Rushdi wrote The Satanic Verses and the Ayatollah called for his elimination and he went into hiding, were there also attacks on English institutions and English citizens who had no connection to one man's work, or was the call and focus at that time only on the person who created the offending piece of art? I don't remember.
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    Gail .

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    Sep 15 2012: The Arabs and the Jews lived in relative harmony for 1400 years before the Western World got involved and threw the world into chaos. It began with the Versailles Treaty that created imperialistic artificial national divisions among groups of incompatible religious sects. Until then, they had no reason to argue because one group could not be elevated to tyrannical rulers over the other. But the Versailles Treaty did more than that. It is directly responsible for the rise of Hitler.

    Before WWII, England, that owned Palestine, promised the Palistineans their own homeland if they would join England in their fight against the Ottoman Turks. But after WWII, Europe that was largely anti-Semitic (except Holland) didn't want the Jews in their back yard. So rather than give the Jews an unoccupied part of the world as a homeland, they gave them a distant occupied land that had been promised to another people.

    This set us up for world conditions that we have today.

    Isn't it interesting that Jews were given Palestinian lands, but the Gypsies who were rounded up first were given nothing- and the 7th Day Adventists who came next were given nothing, and the homosexuals who came next got nothing, and the Trade Unionists who came next, got nothing?

    The primary differences between Jew & Arab are: 1) Jews have Saturday as Sabbath. Arabs - Sunday. 2) Jews pray 3 times a day. Arabs = 5. 3) Arabs must say Allah during ritual slaughter. Jews not required to say anything. All other differences are largely cultural. The two groups are natural allies.

    We can blame one group or another for what is happening in the world, but until we look at our own role in how we are part of the denigration of an entire people, we are little better than Hitler. We just see the reasonableness of our position, just as Hitler saw the reasonableness of his.

    The assassination was just another consequence of Western Imperialistic Bullying.

    Far from a mask. A cry for help, more like it.
    • Sep 15 2012: "The Arabs and the Jews lived in relative harmony for 1400 years before the Western World got involved and threw the world into chaos."

      That's not entirely true and the Muslims (they aren't all Arabs) certainly didn't coexist peacefully with Hindus, Buddhists and Christians and vice versa. There's no truth and no point in denying that the world was even more violent than it is now with religiously motivated war being common.
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        Gail .

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        Sep 15 2012: Again, it was largely imperialistic powers that pitted Arabs against Arabs (Versailles Treaty) and Arabs against Christians (have you forgotten the Crusades? The Arabs & Jews haven't. Have you forgotten that Palestine was already occupied and that England went back on a promise? The Arabs haven't. The Jews would like to.). Have you forgotten India's history under British colonial power, that pitted two culture against one another (Hindu v Muslim) when they had largely - though not entirely - lived separately before they were forced to fight one another in an attempt to gain political power - in the name of survival?

        Yes, the world was a violent place, but Christianity is largely - though CERTAINLY NOT entirely responsible for that. There was more religiously motivated death by christians fighting in wars in the last century than there were in all of the Arab's history. And when you add in the rest of the butchery, there is no match in all of recorded history.

        During WWII, a top hit was called, "Praise God and Pass the Ammunition". It wasn't meant to be sarcastic. It was meant to be patriotic.
        • Sep 15 2012: "Have you forgotten India's history under British colonial power, that pitted two culture against one another (Hindu v Muslim) when they had largely - though not entirely - lived separately before they were forced to fight one another in an attempt to gain political power - in the name of survival?"

          The Muslims had previously conquered most of India in what were some of the bloodiest wars in history before the 20th century. Up until the British conquest of India Hindu and Muslims states on the subcontinent were constantly fighting each other.

          "have you forgotten the Crusades?"

          The Muslims conquered Eastern Europe, Turkey, Iberia and Northern Africa: the struggle for domination between Christian and Muslim countries had been going on centuries before the first crusade, and continued for centuries after, it's just that the crusades are more well known to us.

          In addition there was a lot of infighting in both Christian and Muslim countries. Times were very violent and minor theological differences of opinion could turn into bloody wars.

          But this is all very much off-topic.
  • Sep 16 2012: I will be so glad when each one of us takes the time to look in the mirror & ask:
    "Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?"
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    Sep 16 2012: The news is now suggesting there may be evidence that the deaths were planned assassinations perhaps linked to September 11 rather than mob killings.

    I think the world will be a better place when people stop killing in the name of religion.

    As for history, the middle east has been ruled by many different powers over history. Take Palestine - Caananites, hebrews, Assyrians, Babylonians, PErsians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks, British, Arab dictators. The different Muslim groups seem to forget that these lands were taken by Muslim forces mostly by the sword too. Its the way of the world that the strong take what they can. Just like the Ottomans did when they were strong.

    I guess if I were an Arab Muslim I would be at odds with the West and frustrated my whole life has been influenced by dictators, kings and Western Powers. I might also fear the return of Theocracies.

    Pity they can't take the best of Western Civilisation.

    I also wouldn't like to be Christian minority in Arab lands.

    What a mess.
  • Sep 16 2012: Religious war and people that support it are insane.
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    Sep 15 2012: This looks to me the work of a bunch of kids,I have currently joined a game site where kids as young as 9 to adults 25-27 have gathered for mutual interest in a game to be released in a months time,i was initially there to gather info on pre-release buildup when i was amazed at how well they had setup the site for themselves and at how well they behaved towards each other,i was impressed with the level of technical knowledge they shared and at how easy it was for anyone of them to rip apart video imagery and change it in an hour to something completely different,they're my kids now,they're creativity and democratic behavior has impressed me,though i hardly interact with them it's a wonder to watch in motion.

    That being said,i do not know the latest news on whether they found the person/s responsible for the altered movie or not but i wouldn't put it passed a bored and nasty person.