On the Threshold of a Smaller World


July 1, 2012

  • A YouTube trailer of a low-budget anti-Islam film comes out

September 11

  • On the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 after the distribution of the translated trailer, an enraged crowd breaches the American Embassy in Cairo
  • Armed Islamic militia storms the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya,  killing the US Ambassador and three staff members

September 17

  • Protests in Afghanistan and Indonesia

September 18

  • Suicide bombing in Pakistan claims the lives of 14 people

September 19

  • French satirical magazine issues cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad

September 20

  • An advertisement showing clips of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the video is being aired on Pakistani channels

September 21

  • Deadliest protest as Pakistani government declares a day for peaceful protests and honouring of the Prophet; 23 people killed and 200 – injured
  • In Benghazi thousands of people seize control of several militia headquarters  in response to the killing of the US ambassador

September 23

  • Pakistani Railway Minister offers a bounty of $100,000 for the death of the filmmaker, suggesting that Taliban and Al Qaeda militia should carry on the attack


The Western society has already been criticized for its rather quiescent and indefinite position on the background of the few having strong opinion. How should we react? Recently we have enjoyed the free flow of information allowing us to be a Tweet away from any event. However, everything comes with a given price, and now we are in front of a dilemma.

Although condemning the content of the film, First Amendment advocates defend Nakoula’s right of free speech. On the other hand, the case does not get closed with the freedom-argument. There are consequences of what we say and what we do. Today they are sharper than ever.

“We are fed up with giving them the free pass,” an American St Andrean told me yesterday, having in mind all the other touchy issues that the world is used to mocking. So here comes the complicated part. Should we defend our freedom? But then we are supporting the blasphemy of another religion. Should we condemn the act? Yet, we have fought so hard for the right of free speech. What do we do? Start thinking how to deal with such problems, because as the world ‘shrinks’ thanks to technology, we are about to face much more like this one.


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