It is a sad day when we lose U.S. diplomats overseas. It's even sadder when you understand why it happened in Libya recently.
Libyans and most of the Arab world do not understand the concept of free speech. They've never had it or experienced it with one exception; they see the United States and what "some" people say and do like the recent ridiculous movie that went viral that was meant to insult their religious leader Muhammad. Tolerance is not easy. Tolerance, however, is what is required anywhere there is free speech. Without tolerance there can be no peace.
Just what is tolerance and how do you tolerate something that you find should not be tolerated? I find the best way to tolerate is to simply ignore and go on with your life as if it never happened. So someone said or put some movie out insulting me and my religion or my politics. So what? Let the ignorance and ugliness of what they did speak for itself. I know better and I am at peace. I can also respond and speak my mind about it first and then ignore it. See, free speech works both ways - you just have to learn how to use it. It really does feel good to be able to speak and be heard, especially when you get responses back from people who have heard what you said. Even when people call and complain about something I've written or said it starts a dialogue, which is the only place where understanding, peace and tolerance can then exist.
We here in the U.S. are used to people saying, acting and putting out shocking statements, movies, comics, radio hosts and just about anything you can think of that can be perverted or made into something designed to shock and insult people just to get the attention or ratings. Daytime TV has made it so normal nothing is shocking anymore to us. I am no fan of that. The same is not true in the Arab world.
Unfortunately, many Muslim leaders use that when inciting violence in the name of religion. Protesting is one thing. However, violence is not protesting. People using legitimate protesters to hide their violence are truly the lowest forms of leaders.
Right now we live in an age where an individual can get on a computer and through the Internet start riots around the world with just a few key strokes. This freedom as we have seen now has been used for both good and bad. The net started the liberation of the Arab world and now a few ignorant idiots here in the U.S. put out something that caused the death of an Ambassador and gave fuel to the anti-U.S. Arab world. I wonder how they feel now. Are they laughing or do they have any remorse? They certainly have the right to do what they did, but having a right doesn't mean you should always use it and that is the real meaning and understanding of tolerance.
Leif P. Damstoft