What Edward Said argues a little over three decades ago in Orientalism seems to apply quite nicely even today. One of the tendencies among the orientalists, there goes Said’s argument, is to define a person (a Semite, for example) in relation to his/her ethnicity. Ethnicity comes first, then the individual quality of a person—if the Western observer manages to consider this part. Today, about a week after the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, newspapers all over the States carry headlines that do not stray too far from saying “Muslims are angry at a sloppy American movie.” Newsweek in particular carries “Muslim Rage” this week. It is a sorry fact that there are Muslims who can’t take the defamation of Prophet Muhammad in Innocence of Muslim and express their anger in the wrong direction. Many Western media, or people for that matter, seem to think that it is just valid to say that THE MUSLIMS are angry. Only few media in the first three to four days at least, covered the fact that the protesters who killed the U.S. Ambassador came from a certain offshoot of radical Islamic groups, that among those killed in the incidents were Libyan Muslims who tried to protect the Ambassador, that while many people were protesting and destroying U.S. Embassies and U.S.-sounding business, there were also groups of “protesters” holding up banners saying sorry for the sad incident in Libya. As much as we need to “educate” a lot of Muslims to take matters with cold head and to learn to love fellow human, especially the innocent ones, over doing what they believe to be sanctioned by god, we still need to educate the Western society to see people as flesh and blood and thoughts and emotions instead of seeing them as a group of soulless individuals.
* My hearts, thoughts and pray go to Chris Stevens and his family.