If you really believe that middle-east zealots are being driven to murder based on an obscure video on you tube, then you might just have a hard time defending freedom of speech.  But if you’re not willing to defend free speech, the most basic of all human rights, then you may just as well hop on a plane to Egypt, or Libya, or any of the other dozen Muslim countries and start burning the flag because freedom of speech underpins almost all of the rights we tend to take for granted in the western world.

In the middle of an uprising, defending a right he is not permitted which we all but take for granted.

It’s beginning to look as though the current spate of uprisings had far less to do with the video than the administration would like to suggest.  Even as UN Ambassador Susan Rice was trying to make the connection, Libyan president Mohammed el-Megarif was stating that the United States had been warned at least 48 hours before the attack took place.  The attack had nothing to do with the video at all.  It was premeditated.  Maybe a perverse celebration for 911?  Or possibly retribution for the killing of Bin Laden?  Or maybe it’s a frustrated seventh century ideology used as a tool for tyrannical governments trying to maintain their grip over the poor and under-educated masses who see no difference in being led by a prophet or their madmen rulers who incite them to kill on their prophet’s behalf. The video was an easy catalyst for them to use as cover.

I’m not quite sure why the administration would go to great lengths to avoid pointing out the incompatibility of radical Islam with the rest of the free world.  They seem so horrified at the possibility of offending someone that it resulted in an odd apology-non apology for our right to free speech at the very start of the uprising in Egypt. The administration then distanced itself from the communiqué by saying “no one in Washington approved that statement before it was released and it doesn’t reflect the views of the U.S. government.”  If only that were true.  That someone in the state department expressed the feeling that we should be publicly apologizing for our right to free speech pretty much tells me that they felt comfortable doing so, and not just some rogue diplomat talking off the cuff as it were.

Maybe it’s just some religions that attain special status.  No one got dragged out of an embassy for the Dung Madonna; No, that was art and it needed to be defended.  Even the Piss Christ raised hackles, and everyone survived.  Hell, that one was even funded by the tax payers.

Where to now?  Well, for starters, one wonders why the pissant little film maker was hauled off by the feds?  I’m sure we can all have faith that it’s because he had “probation issues” and nothing more nefarious than that.  And today, Egypt calls for the arrest of seven Coptic Christians associated with the film along with that other “saintly man of the cloth” Florida “Pastor” Terry Jones.  Of course, publicly insulting Islam and the prophet  is punishable by death.  Is there anything in the Muslim world not punishable by death?

I happened upon a news show last night and I wish I had recorded it.  There were two American Muslims on the program bemoaning how the message of moderate Muslims is not being heard, not being broadcast.  They pointed to the signs held by counter-protesters in Benghazi apologizing to America and the west.  Normally I get irritated when I hear about the moderate Muslims, because we never hear enough from them.  It’s their religion being hijacked; they need to be the ones to start the reformation.  Maybe they can learn from the sign holders of Benghazi how to take a stand for their religion.

And maybe we as Americans can learn from them what it’s like to truly defend the right to free speech.

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