How ironic it is when those who so yearned for freedom, upon winning it, turn around and curtail the freedom of others.
This phenomenon knows no race, creed, religion, color or ethnicity. It knows no space or time.
So perhaps it should be expected that the Arab Spring of 2011, that fight for freedom from tyranny and oppression, should lead in the late summer and early fall of 2012 to protesters storming American embassies, burning American flags, killing four Americans in Libya and chanting death to America — ostensibly over an American thousands of miles away exercising his freedom of expression regarding the Prophet Muhammad.
I have nothing against the Prophet Muhammad. I respect everyone's religion and would not intentionally disrespect another's religion or those who worship that religion. If, however, I want to criticize or question certain aspects of it or a member of it, I should have the right to do so without worrying that the expression of my views, whatever form they take, might lead to every member of my race, religion, ethnicity, gender or — in this case — country being subjected to hell on Earth.
How many times have we seen in the human race this blanket application of one person's actions to the whole group? We Americans have been guilty of it, as have others. At the moment, however, it ain't easy being an American on Earth.
All of this is because of a made-in-America movie clip shown on YouTube, which most Americans had not even heard of, that evidently was insulting to the Prophet Muhammad and which many in the Muslim world have attributed to the American government and every citizen of America.
Doesn't seem right to blame a whole country's people for one person's act. But in the interest of world peace and harmony, I have some simple suggestions for Americans to prevent us from further offending the Prophet Muhammad or any other prophets, popes, rabbis, ministers, gods, presidents, dictators, celebrities or otherwise everyday people.
Ban YouTube. Yes. If it weren't for YouTube, no one in the Muslim world or much of the rest of the world would have seen this insensitive video.
That would mean no more showing of cute videos, or watching old video musical performances of groups. But that's a fair price to pay for world peace.
But that's not enough. There would always be other places to upload it on the Internet. So ban the Internet. That way no one communicates anything offensive about anyone, anywhere, anytime that can be seen by millions with the click of a mouse.
Of course, that means terrorists won't be able to communicate so well with each other either. But that would seem a fair price to pay for world peace.
Not enough? OK. I propose a ban on all computers. What trouble these things have caused. Of course that means I'd have to go to my old electric typewriter to write my stories, and re-ink that one remaining black cartridge, and become reacquainted with whiteout. But that would seem a fair price to pay for world peace.
Still risky? OK. Ban television, radios, movies. Really, if we can't see and hear what other folks are saying, we automatically reduce the chance of showing and saying something that might offend someone. Of course that means we'd have to go back to talking to each other and telling stories around the fire. But that would seem a fair price to pay for world peace.
Keep going? OK. Ban smart phones and dumb phones. If people really want to communicate ideas, let them write them down and mail it. Of course, that means people will have to lift their chins up to look people in the eyes instead of walking head down into someone and starting a fight. But that would seem a fair price to pay for world peace.
Still chancy? OK. Ban the First Amendment. It's such a troublesome amendment because so many Americans take it to heart — expressing themselves in all kinds of ways. If we banned the First Amendment, we'd offend no one — except for those Americans angry enough to fight for these rights with the passion of the Muslims over their prophet.
A fair price to pay for world peace?