Most people by now have heard about the incendiary film “Innocence of Muslims” and the backlash that it’s caused across the world. Perhaps the most tragic thing about this film’s release is that it created the perfect opportunity for extremists to murder everyday people who were working for the good of those they were called to serve. The thing I find most fascinating about the reactions to Sam Bacile and his film is that it’s a testament to how quickly and radically the world can change. In the space of 72 hours there have been riots and protests in at least 11 countries and counting. All because of one man and a poorly made, purposely malevolent film.
Think about how significant an event like that is. This wasn’t the result of actions from a well equipped militia, a covert arm of any government, or even an open declaration of war. This was just one guy, a hand full of supporters and a whole lot of bad energy.
In saying this, I do not mean to praise to Mr. Bacile, or anyone that’s affiliated with the film and its distribution. Their actions are unequivocally deplorable and morally reprehensible at best. However, given that the violence and turmoil of the last three days were the results of actions that were perpetuated by one man and his motive of hatred, I’d like to invite you to imagine with me for a second what the last three days would have looked like if we had three, maybe even four people who worked to do the exact opposite.
The way I see it, there is no winning for anyone in these times,especially if we continue down the path of mutually assured destruction. The world of international diplomacy has been dealt a tremendous blow in the loss J. Christopher Stevens and his staffers. Heaven alone knows the kinds of heartache that the families of the deceased must be experiencing. It’s understandable for Muslims the world over to be hurt and angry because of all the unnecessary vitriol that was hurled at them and The Prophet through the film. It’s disheartening that people are quick to use the actions of a few malevolent individuals to judge an entire nation. We can all be assured that if the violence continues, it will not end well for anyone.
The truth is that Sam Bacile isn’t special. Neither are any of his cohorts. They’re all human just like you and me. In every human is the capacity for tremendous good and tremendous evil. Mr. Bacile and his accomplices are prime examples of the latter. I sincerely hope that the rest of us can choose to be a part of the former.
If there is any lesson to be learned in all of this, it is that everyday people really can change the world. As Marianne Williamson once said, “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.” I hope that in the days and years to come we will learn to use that power for good.