As of late, Libya has been a hotbed for violent activity, and whether it has been warranted or not is up for discussion. After the Libyan Civil War (also referred to as the Libyan Revolution), in which ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown, there has been a plethora of turmoil in Libya and the surrounding areas.
Although this is something that can be expected from any civil war, recently, it has involved the United States of America more directly than before.
In the neighboring country of Egypt, the U.S. embassy’s American flag was torn down by a group of rebels and replaced with a black Islamic flag.
In Libya, the U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens, along with other American citizens were killed via rocket propelled grenades.
In other areas, such as India and Yemen, several protesters were injured and even killed in protests against the U.S.
It is rumored that an offensive movie trailer, created by Nakoula Bassely Nakoula (an American citizen who is from Egypt), is what may have sparked some of the attacks on Western embassies in this region. America is now in a tough position of whether to prosecute this man, who may have caused international disputes and the death of many, or to protect the 1st amendment right of freedom of speech.
However, other reports suggest that this movie was not the cause of this violence; rather it was a preplanned attack from Al-Qaeda to avenge the death of a prominent Al-Qaeda leader.
Whether or not the causes of these attacks were spontaneous because of the movie trailer, or pre-meditated, they happened, and people have died because of it.
As Americans, we need to recognize that we have the right to freedom of speech, to a specific point. We cannot say things that are specifically threatening towards someone (such as a death threat), so why should something as potentially harmful as this movie trailer be accepted?
Yet, even worse is the reaction to the video. Violence should never be the response to the spoken or written word. Although someone may say or publish something that is completely against your viewpoint (or even against your religion), it must be understood that there will always be an opposing view. Instead of reacting violently, it is much easier to simply accept the viewpoint for what it is, or engage in intelligent debate. By overreacting and becoming violent, nothing substantial is being accomplished; you are showing the opposition that you are incapable of being reasonable.
People from all religions have been historically violent against opposition. As a human race, with a certain degree of reason and intelligence, we need to recognize that even on something as touchy as religion, there will always be someone who will push buttons just to get others riled up. We need to do our best to understand these altering points of view, no matter how offended we get and also to avoid violence at all costs.
This translates to the rest of our lives as well. We need to understand one another and coexist, realizing that we are all different. If we are able to do just that, the world will be a safer place that we all want to live in.