At certain times more than at others, one recognizes how so for-granted we take things we deem normal, how indeed abnormality itself aids us in the appreciation of normalcy.
I was grief-stricken to learn of the death of Christopher Stevens, US Ambassador to Libya, principally due to the circumstances of it. A reportedly pleasant, well disposed and highly regarded diplomat, he was in Benghazi on a tour of duty only to meet a thoroughly undeserved infernal end to his distinguished life.
As it transpired, a mob of Libyan Moslems were reportedly in a rage concerning an amateur film posted on You Tube made by an unknown director, a Jewish man named Sam Bacile, whose artistic and moral goal was to expose the hypocrisies of Islam as perceived by him. Too bad, those Moslems didn’t quite see it his way but rather saw it as a calculated insult to the Prophet Mohammed, Peace be unto Him! ( I better add PBOH if I know what is good for me). Consequently, they stormed the US embassy in Benghazi with some serious weaponry and snuffed the life out of poor Stevens as if he had anything to do with it. Come to think of it, a Jew making an anti-Islam movie? Now, isn’t that totally unexpected!
Oh yes, it does take a dark, starless night to make you appreciate the brightness of day, doesn’t it? It may be fashionable among us people of the so-called Third World to pillory and malign the West and blame them for all our woes ( even when many of them are self-inflicted) but if one is to be dispassionate, we must hail and admire such western tenets as tolerance as well as freedom of speech and expression. No less a person than the Queen of England has been known to undergo the indignity of having her limousine pelted with rotten eggs and tomatoes as she drove past her own subjects, eliciting from her merely an indulgent smile. You just try as a Nigerian showing President Jonathan a placard that does not compliment him and see where that will lead you .One only needs witness the barracking the British Prime Minister gets in the Commons at Question Time from the Opposition to appreciate the beauty of their civilisation. Not even Jesus Christ and Buddha have escaped the occasional jibe and rib in film and print and yet their devoted followers merely pause, ponder and move on along the lines of their convictions and beliefs without commotion or upheaval. Just the other day, Julian Assange, wanted in Sweden for sexual offences but preferring to play up the populist Wikileaks angle, facing possible extradition from the UK, holed himself up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, impetuously appeared at its balcony, turned his nose up at the British authorities and disappeared back in scot-free, while Bobbies(police) stood all along the sidewalk below looking as if they took no notice. It was quite beautiful, the restraint, dignity and civilisation of it all.
That Christopher Stevens had to die for reason of a whimsical camcorder recording made by an obscure Jew that had neither endorsement or encouragement from the US government or even Hollywood, is bizarre and obscene in the extreme, not to talk of grievous and aggravating to the limit. May he rest in peace, but more importantly if possible, may God – or Allah - grant all mankind the capacity not to take ourselves too seriously. Gosh!