Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fifteen minutes of hate, fifteen seconds of fame

Being in a mood to procrastinate from more important work, I just sat down and watched the Google Video copy of Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders's film Fitna.

Now, I hate it when people presume to speak for the entire Muslim world, but I'm going to take the liberty right now, and apologize to every Dutch person for all the fuss my fellow brothers and sisters in Islam made over this silly slideshow. Anybody could have made this film about any identifiable group that has been involved in violent conflict and has a few firebrand demagogues. Set the Star Spangled Banner to scenes of scorched bodies in Fallujah, and you have a winner. "The bombs burst in the air" indeed. Wait, wait, don't tell me. That has a historical context.

I've read each of those passages that the film quotes and never once felt that I was being instructed to smite my non-Muslim neighbour's neck, but Mr. Wilders would like you to think that that I do feel that way. 50 years ago, he would have been accusing another group of drinking the blood of gentile children.

This is classic propaganda: Step 1) Point the finger at an identifiable enemy. Step 2) Gather some shocking footage that involves members of that group. Step 3) Set it to music add some decontextualized quotes, and presto. Propaganda it is, but of the crude variety that should have gone out of fashion in the 1940s.

I didn't embed it here (since there are some monstrous scenes and audio involving decapitation that are very disturbing), however, you can watch for yourself at the link above.

It's 15 minutes you'll never get back.

"Or, Who originates creation, then repeats it, and who gives you sustenance from heaven and earth? (Can there be another) god besides God. Say, "Bring forth your argument, if ye are telling the truth!"

Qur'an 27:64, trans. A. Yusuf Ali.

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