16 September 2012

Protest and violence

Eight people were held in police custody after violent clashes between hundreds of police and protesters erupted in Sydney's CBD at Town Hall yesterday afternoon. Six police were injured and 17 others were treated for the effects of capsicum spray when a demonstration against an anti-Islamic video turned violent. Police charges include a range of offenses, including affray, assaulting police, resisting arrest and throwing a missile.
 Police said the group began walking along George Street towards Martin Place, where they attempted to enter the US consulate, located in the MLC Centre.

"They were aggressive and violent at times and came into contact with police."
Waving banners with slogans such as "Behead all those who insult the Prophet", protesters listened as one protester told the crowd: "We will never accept the assault on our prophet."
The rally was the latest in a spate of demonstrations at US embassies and consulates in the Middle East, Africa, even Britain and Germany against the film, 'Innocence of Muslims.'
Protester Abdullah Sary, who said he wanted a peaceful protest, told AAP that although he had not seen the film, he was offended because it ridiculed the Prophet Mohammed. "The prophet is more beloved then my family, my wife, my mother and myself. So if someone says this, you can see how upsetting it is."

After the men - with more than 100 police standing in a ring around them - formed lines, fell to their knees and began to pray, what followed was yelling, with the male-dominated group punching their fists in the air and chanting "Down, down USA."

Sticks and bottles were hurled, before police surged up the stairs, restraining some protesters and chasing others.

All levels and sides of politics were quick to condemn the protest with Prime Minister Julia Gillard issuing a statement saying: "Violent protest is never acceptable - not today, not ever."
"The right to protest comes with an equal responsibility to do so peacefully," NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said.
"That responsibility has been comprehensively ignored today."
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott told the Seven Network it was "completely, utterly and absolutely unacceptable", adding those responsible for the violence should be prosecuted.

When I am angry and want to protest I apparently have that right.
So do the anti-USA people.
I do not have the right to be violent to fellow Australians and certainly not against police.
Neither do the Muslims and others who oppose our connections to the USA or Israel.

The police seem to have done right in this situation, acting quickly and effectively.  Good-on-'em.

What's surprising is that an unseen movie, from the internet, produced by private persons, is a cause to defame a country. And these protesters aver that a country which freely allows its citizens such production and distribution is worthy of defamation and violence, in the name of protection of a dead prophet from 1400 years ago.

Prophets don't need protecting.
Prophets need to be listened to.

Violence to defend a prophet, in this case, allegedly a prophet of peace, is inherently counterproductive and insulting to the prophet.

Beheading all those who insult the prophet would leave a lot of headless Muslims in the trail.

I remember the words of Gandhi (even if no one can find the exact quote) in his comments (although a misunderstanding of the words of Y'shua, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth") An eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth would lead to a world of the blind and toothless.

Here's the downside of freedom of speech. Some people may say things you don't like. They may say things that you oppose. They may say things which hurt your feelings. That's freedom. They MAY DO SO.
And protest is legal and in a free country like Australia, even spoken protest is legal. But violence is not.

Filling out the issue of prophet-defending and judging a film without seeing it are matters for another blog.

For now, my freedom of speech allows me this blog. And allows me to wish all my Jewish mates and colleagues and contacts a very happy 5773. L'shana tovah!

No comments: