...when Gallup polled 35 Muslim majority countries, it found that of all the gripes the Muslim world has against the West, among the most pervasive is the West's ''disrespect for Islam''.
And it is this disrespect that is the overarching grievance that subsumes others. Everything, global and local, can be thrown into this vortex: Swiss minaret bans, French niqab bans, military invasions, drone strikes, racist stereotyping, anti-immigrant politics, and yes, even films so ridiculously bad that, left to their own devices, they would simply lampoon themselves.
This is what gives Innocence of Muslims meaning: not its content, but its context. It's a symbol of contempt, which is why protests against it so quickly turn into an orgy of anti-Americanism. So, ''Obama, Obama, we love Osama'' they scream, mainly because it's the most offensive rhyme they can muster. Osama, too, is a symbol; the most repugnant one in their arsenal. How better to prove you exist than to say something outrageous?
That's Wally's standard apologia whenever the Beard Brigade get boisterous, and trouper that he is, he can normally be counted upon to recite those polished rationalisations without a flub. Today, with the spirit very much upon him, Wally lets slip the veil and uses his latest Age column to give Australia a real whacking. Here he is, working himself toward a frothing climax:
Reflecting on the infamous Abu Ghraib prison scandal, Stanford University psychologist Philip Zimbardo observed that such things become possible when the perpetrators feel anonymous, when they don't have a sense of personal responsibility for their actions, and have tacit approval from authority figures. And the obvious differences between Nauru and Abu Ghraib aside, isn't that what's happening here?Nauru and Abu Ghraib? Yep, same thing except totally different. Then, with the blood rushing to his head or somewhere, Wally really unloads:
This is a culture of belligerence, trickling down from the political leadership. Again, just like White Australia. It's a culture that sees the sneaky denial of rights as a virtue. A culture that sheds tears for those who die at sea trying to get here, but barely blinks when people are killed after being sent home. A culture that watches a detainee attempt suicide, and dozens of people give up on the idea of asylum, and then chalks it up as a win.