It's a cruel and unusual punishment for any Monday morning, having to listen to Tony Blair on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Why the programme's editors chose to interview the former prime minister on the controversy over the anti-Islamic film that has triggered demonstrations throughout much of the world is beyond me. The man who has done more than most to contribute to anti-western feeling among Muslims in the Middle East and Asia is called upon to tell us why Muslims shouldn't be angry about anything.
So while Blair dismissed the film as "laughable", he claimed that those who reacted against it by demonstrating were "very dangerous and wrong". He seems to think that the film can be judged by the standards of the Cannes film festival and, once found wanting, can be dismissed by all right-minded people. Yet the objection to the film is not about its quality, but its intent of slandering and insulting Muslims across the world.
Why are Muslims so sensitive on this question? Maybe the answer comes not just from one crude and racist film, but from long years of hurt caused by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, imprisonment without trial by western-backed dictators, extraordinary rendition and torture, the burning of the Qur'an by US troops in Afghanistan, and the air strikes, barely acknowledged in the west, which this weekend alone killed eight women and girls.
Eleven years of war and occupation have done, and are still doing, immense damage in the countries worst affected. A recent survey showed high levels of distrust of the US throughout the Arab world.
Source and full piece: The Guardian (UK), 17 Sept 2012