I think the potential question of ethical culpability on behalf of the film-makers is a bit of a red herring though: it's early days yet but given the timing, the scale and violence involved the video in question seems an excuse for the violence, not the cause. If the NY Times reporting is correct the translated video was only viewed 40,000 times, and the original trailer only 60,000 times before they went to print this morning - by internet and Youtube standards that's nothing: this was not a grievous wound inflicted against the cultural zeitgeist of these countries and more to the point it feels like something reached for retroactively. This isn't the same as the riots Terry Jones sparked with his public and repeated threats to burn the Koran; there was no build up, no media controversy to spread the word - as incitements go it's a dismal failure. No one had heard about this until after.
And, honestly, I think there are problems with the incitement/response model being proposed here - I'm vastly uncomfortable with turning the whole of the Arab World into some kind of monolithic single celled amoeba capable of nothing but reflexive responses to external stimuli. I can see the appeal of the idea on a causal level - poke with stick, get poked back; it's math but with violence! - but any sort of international or cross cultural interaction is worlds more complicated than that. And then you throw in the politics of separate countries, separate ethnicities in recently reorganized and reshuffled societies . . . it doesn't work like that, it can't. It's just an easy way to assign blame and make something like this seem somehow logical.
And to come back around to the they are terrorist angle, I think it needs to be underscored here because the point, Savayan, is not a bit of linguistic sophistry to somehow absolve the filmmakers. It's an indicator that the filmmakers =/= cause in this case. These attacks/
|EDIT 2: The reports I'm reading from online news sources are split on this; some say both were planned, others say just one was, with the other a happenstance of timing. I admit that I might be wrong about this interpretation, early days yet. |
were planned for a specific day, a day with fairly heavy symbolic significance for both Americans and it's allies and
enemies abroad, with a specific cause in mind. It increasingly appears that these were not protests that got out of hand or simple riots; they were attacks on American citizens first,
political statements second.
|EDIT: Or more specifically, they're political statements, just not the political statement you're arguing that they're making. It's bigger than this one instance. |
If it wasn't this film cited as a cause it would have been something else, some other offense be it real or imagined that demanded redress.
The film isn't the cause here, Savayan, it's the excuse and I don't think there's a legal remedy for its existence. Should there be? I don't know - I think, personally, that the filmmaker in question is a bigot with an agenda and a desire
to play armchair politician or agent provocateur, but I also think they are over-weaned on thoughts of their own importance. But that's not a crime. And more to the point I'm not sure it can be - intent is hard to judge and trying to prosecute a creation for the intent of its creator is a dicey proposition at best which can and does lead to censorship. And if one sidesteps that pitfall I don't even think that one could hang the guilty intent on the means of transmission instead; with technology the way it is these days once something is uploaded to the web it can get pretty much anywhere whether the creator wills it or no. And that, well it's reasonable doubt, at
|"No one "meant" for it to get translated into Arabic and reposted, nudge nudge wink wink, and you can't prove otherwise Mister Judge" |
Is the film a good thing? God no. Is it offensive? Heck yes. Does that make the filmmaker somehow legally culpable in four deaths halfway across the world? No. Ethically?
IF the video was actual first cause for this chain of events and if
it was the explicit intent to prompt some sort of violent retaliatory action for rationalization/justification/hate/publicity? Then and only then yes. Otherwise it's at worst a maybe.