By Michael Baker
Google has announced that it will be restricting access to “The Innocence of Muslims,” the controversial anti-Muslim video that has sparked violence in Egypt and Libya. While the video will remain available in most nations, it is no longer viewable on YouTube in either of those countries.
What Google is doing is probably in good taste, but as a practical matter is will have virtually no effect. The video remains available via other internet outlets. And haven’t all of the most radical radicals in Egypt and Libya already seen it by now anyway? I sure hope so; I’d hate to think that there are still more thuggish lunatics who are yet to react to this nonsense.
That’s what really gets me – it’s nonsense. Everything about this is nonsense. Some dopes made a stupid video that mocks one of the World’s largest – and most fundamental – religions. And they did it for no reason but to provoke a bunch of pissed off hotheads. Well, mission accomplished.
I’ve seen “The Innocence of Muslims.” It didn’t offend me, mainly because I couldn’t even figure out what I was watching. Let me just say this – there is no criteria I can think of by which this video would be judged worth watching aside from the fact that it is the catalyst for extreme violence. Not well produced, not well acted, not funny, not interesting, not insightful; it is a real piece of garbage, and I’m actually curious about why it was made in the first place. Allah only knows how this thing started trending online. I wish my website could get that kind of exposure – you know, without the whole people getting killed by violent extremists thing.
And now Google is setting what might be a dangerous precedent by declaring that a video should be restricted for no reason other than that it’s really offensive. It’s offensive to the point of inciting violence, but still just offensive. I don’t think a low-budget, virtually unwatchable video could provoke this kind of violence unless the people committing that violence were waiting to be provoked. I imagine most Muslims who see this video find it insulting, and then go on with their lives.
So what should Google have done? Probably what they’ve always done in the past. They should have done nothing. Leave the video up. Taking it down doesn’t prevent any further violence, and leaving it up wouldn’t cause more. These riots are happening because some people in the World don’t like that other people in the World get to talk about what they don’t like, no matter how inarticulately.
As a grandiose pro-Free Speech gesture I was going to post a link to “The Innocence of Muslims,” but I’ve decided to post a link to something worth watching instead.