Friday, September 14, 2012

Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize, and Angry Muslims

In October of 2009, most of the world was stunned when Barack Obama was selected to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He had only been in office for 8 months and had no record on which to base the award. It was, essentially, awarded to him prospectively. The explanation from the awarding committee, to paraphrase, was that he was a symbol of hope and change, and surely he would do something in the future to merit such an honor. (cough cough)


Reacting to the news, the Palestinian movement Hamas said the award was "premature at best", while the Taliban in Afghanistan stated it was "absurd to give a peace award to a man who has sent 21,000 extra troops to Afghanistan."

Two years after accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm, Mr. Obama gave a speech at the U.N. This came a few months after he involved the U.S. in the revolutionary overthrows of several decades-old dictatorships. Much controversy surrounded Obama's decision to involve the U.S. in some of these revolutions while staying silent on others. Perhaps Mr. Obama thought that he could finally merit the Nobel Peace Prize by talking about peace while giving aid to the parties he supported in these foreign civil wars. The message Mr. Obama conveyed in his U.N. speech on September 21, 2011, was that "peace is hard" and that peace does not always last. He used the word "peace" 44 times in his 35 minute speech. Here are some of the profound things he said about peace.

"...a subject at the heart of the United Nations [is] the pursuit of peace in an imperfect world."

"We have got to make, not merely peace, but a peace that will last."

"The men and women who built this institution (the U.N.) understood that peace is more than just the absence of war. A lasting peace -- for nations and for individuals -- depends on a sense of justice and opportunity, of dignity and freedom."

“'Many people,' [one of the U.N. founders] said, 'have talked as if all that has to be done to get peace was to say loudly and frequently that we loved peace and we hated war. Now we have learned that no matter how much we love peace and hate war, we cannot avoid having war brought upon us if there are convulsions in other parts of the world.'”

"The fact is peace is hard. But our people demand it."

"...we proclaim our love for peace and our hatred of war..."

"And Osama bin Laden, a man who murdered thousands of people from dozens of countries, will never endanger the peace of the world again."

"[T]oday, we stand at a crossroads of history with the chance to move decisively in the direction of peace. [...] The United Nations’ Founding Charter calls upon us, 'to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.'”

"This is how the international community is supposed to work -- nations standing together for the sake of peace and security, and individuals claiming their rights. Now, all of us have a responsibility to support the new Libya -- the new Libyan government as they confront the challenge of turning this moment of promise into a just and lasting peace for all Libyans."

"But let us remember: Peace is hard. Peace is hard."

"But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves."

"Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations -- if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now."

"Ultimately, peace depends upon compromise among people who must live together long after our speeches are over, long after our votes have been tallied."

"That is the truth -- each side has legitimate aspirations -- and that’s part of what makes peace so hard."

"Peace is not just the absence of war. True peace depends on creating the opportunity that makes life worth living."

"[T]hose who came before us believed that peace is preferable to war."

Peace is hard, but we know that it is possible. So, together, let us be resolved to see that it is defined by our hopes and not by our fears. Together, let us make peace, but a peace, most importantly, that will last."


Wow. Who knew peace was so hard. So, with such a profound speech, our President must have made the whole world join hands and sing "Kumbaya" together over the last 3 years and 8 months, right?

Yes, I am being facetious.

Our Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed three days ago, on the anniversary of 9/11. At first it was reported that a movie trailer about Mohammad had sparked the outrage. Now it has come to light that this was all part of a planned attack on U.S. foreign service locations on 9/11, merely because some Muslims hate the United States and our people. And our government does little but apologize to the Muslim world and blame the film maker. It is thoroughly disgraceful.

Today the violent protests of radical Muslims in the Middle East have spread to many countries that we have helped in the past. This map shows the locations that have seen protests today alone. The list of the sites is printed below, with links to the news stories that confirm the reports of rioting.


Global Muslim Protests
Map created on Sep 14 · By John via Google Maps

Algeria
"In Algeria, the U.S. Embassy cautioned Americans to avoid its building and other official government buildings Wednesday afternoon, sending an emergency message to U.S. citizens after calls for protests went out on social media," reports the Los Angeles Times.


Amsterdam
"The American consulate on the Museumplein in Amsterdam is to close earlier than usual on Friday because of a planned demonstration by Muslims in the late afternoon," reports DutchNews.nl. "Two schools in the neighbourhood are also to close early, Nos television said."


 Baghdad, Iraq
"In Iraq, reaction to the video clip has been limited to followers of Shiite groups linked to militias and neighboring Iran," reports The Wall Street Journal. "Several hundred followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr held brief demonstrations in Baghdad's Sadr City district, the southern oil city of Basra and other predominantly Shiite areas of the country, chanting 'Death to America.'"  


Bangladesh
"About 1,000 Bangladeshi Islamists tried to march on the U.S. embassy in Dhaka on Thursday to protest against a U.S. film that is said to insult the Prophet Mohammad but security forces stopped them reaching the mission," reports Reuters. 


Benghazi, Libya
"Heavily armed militants used a protest of an anti-Islam film as a cover and may have had help from inside Libyan security in their deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate, a senior Libyan official said Thursday," reports the AP. 


Cairo, Egypt
"In Cairo, clouds of tear gas floated through the fortified area around the U.S. Embassy as security forces clashed with protesters for the third straight day," reports The Washington Post. 


Chennai, India
"Protesters in southern India have been arrested for throwing rocks at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai, the city police commissioner said," reports CNN. "As many as 200 protesters were demonstrating in front of the building, but the number arrested was not reported. There were no reported injuries." 


Doha, Qatar
"Hundreds of worshippers marched near the US embassy in Qatar on Friday over the anti-Islam video," reports Al Jazeera. "The protest had been reportedly called for by Doha-based Egyptian  Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi and began after his Friday sermon at the Omar bin Khateb mosque."  


Gaza Strip
"Palestinians on Friday protested an anti-Muslim film, with thousands gathering in the Gaza Strip and hundreds in Jerusalem where there were clashes with Israeli police," reports Now Lebanon.


Islamabad, Pakistan
"The protesters in Islamabad said that the film should be banned across the world and the filmmakers should be severely punished," reports Pakistan's The Express Tribune. "They also demanded that the US should apologise for the film." 


 Jakarta, Indonesia
"In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, about 200 protesters in Jakarta chanted slogans and held up signs in a largely peaceful protest outside the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy," reports the Associated Press. 


Jalalabad, Afghanistan
"Hundreds of Afghans – some shouting 'Death to America' – have held a protest against an anti-Islam film in the eastern city of Jalalabad," reports the AP.  

Jerusalem
"Hundreds hurl stones at officers in Jerusalem after Friday prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque while protesters rallied against anti-Islam film," reports Ynet News. 



Jos, Nigeria
"Nigerian troops fired live rounds on Friday to disperse Muslims protesting in the volatile central city of Jos against an American film about the Prophet Mohammad that has triggered unrest in several countries across the Islamic world," reports Reuters. "Scores of Muslim demonstrators distributed photographs printed out from the trailer of the film, which Muslims say insults the Prophet, after Friday prayers in Jos." 



Karachi, Pakistan
"JI Chief Munawar Hassan, addressing a protest rally in the Nazimabad area of Karachi, demanded that the US government ban the movie and also demanded the Interior ministry of Pakistan lodge a protest with the US ambassador," reports the Express Tribune. 




Kashmir
"Thousands of angry Kashmiri Muslims protested Friday against an anti-Islam film, burning U.S. flags and calling President Barack Obama a 'terrorist,' while the top government cleric here reportedly demanded Americans leave the volatile Indian-controlled region immediately," reports the AP. "At least 15,000 people took part in more than two dozen protests across Kashmir, chanting 'Down with America' and 'Down with Israel' in some of the largest anti-American demonstrations against the film in Asia."



Khartoum, Sudan
"Britain's Foreign Office says police in Sudan are confronting a protest outside the British embassy in Khartoum," reports the AP.  Additionally, Reuters reports "Protesters pull down emblem at German embassy in Sudan, raise Islamic flag."  The Guardian is showing photographs of the German embassy on fire.  


Kuwait City, Kuwait
"About 500 demonstrators gathered yesterday near the US embassy in Kuwait waving a black Al-Qaeda flag in protest of a film mocking Islam," reports AFP. "President Barack 'Obama, we are all Osama,' they chanted referring to Al-Qaeda's former leader Osama bin Laden who was killed by US forces last year, an AFP photographer at the site of the demonstration reported." 


Lahore, Pakistan
"The rally in Lahore was organised by Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool which was taken out from Green Chowk to Sohrab Khan, while the one in Multan was organised by Jamiat Talba Arbia and Shehri Mahaz. Protesters threw shoes at US and Israeli flags and set them on fire," reports the Express Tribune. 


London, UK
"About 200 protesters are burning USA and Israeli flags outside the US embassy in London," Al Jazeera reports.  


Maldives
Protests emerged in the Maldives, according to the BBC, but there are few details on the size of the demonstration.  



Mogadishu, Somalia
"Thousands of Somali protesters have taken to the streets of capital Mogadishu to express their anger over the anti-Islam movie produced by an Israeli-American in the United States," reports Iran's Press TV. "The demonstration in the Somali capital is being held to express anger against the film, which insults the holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)."  


Morocco
"Algeria and Morocco have sharply criticised the anti-Islam film, while also offering their condolences over the death of the US ambassador to Libya," reports The Oman Tribune. 


Sanaa, Yemen
"In Sanaa, Yemen, the U.S. Embassy was overrun Thursday by protesters who stormed a wall, set fire to a building inside the compound, broke windows and carried away office supplies and other souvenirs before being dispersed by local security forces," reports The Washington Post.


Sri Lanka
Protests have erupted in eastern Sri Lanka, according to the BBC, but details are thin on the size of the demonstration.  


Tehran, Iran
"In Tehran, students gathered Thursday outside the Swiss Embassy, which represents U.S. interests in Iran, to protest the video," The Wall Street Journal reports. "No violence was reported."


Tripoli, Lebanon
"Hundreds of protesters set alight a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday, witnesses said, chanting against the pope's visit to Lebanon and shouting anti-American slogans," reports Reuters. The news agency attributed the violence to the papal visit and the controversial film. 


Tripoli, Libya
"The US dispatched an elite group of Marines to Tripoli on Wednesday after the mob attack that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans," reports the AP. "Officials were investigating whether the rampage was a backlash to an anti-Islamic video with ties to Coptic Christians or a plot to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11."


Tunisia
Protesters in Tunisia have set fire to an American school in the capital Tunis, according to Reuters. The New York Post reports that "Anti-American rioting spread yesterday to Tunisia, where police used tear gas to stop hundreds of protesters from storming the United States Embassy in protest over a film mocking the prophet Mohammed."  

 

 Pictures are not necessarily from the location listed above or below them. They merely are samples of the thousands of pictures on the Internet documenting the widespread unrest and protesting throughout the Arab world.


This is what the Arab Spring that Obama supported and encouraged has led to. I have a horrible feeling that things will get worse in the Middle East before they get better. I hope I am wrong. I am betting I am not.