YouTube Video Related to American Deaths in Libya

A Libyan protest that resulted in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghaz, the killing of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, and the death of three other Americans was reportedly spurred by an anti-Muslim video made by an anonymous filmmaker.

One segment of the film Innocence of Muslims makes a blatant ad hominem attack on the Islamic prophet Muhammad, characterizing him “as a womanizer, a pedophile and a homosexual, among other characterizations” (Kaleem, 2012). The video circulated on YouTube days before the protest. While investigations have been made into the origin of the film, its creator remains unnamed.

The role of the Internet in increasing tensions between the U.S. and Libya creates an interesting complication. In America, the Internet is left in relative freedom. Most of our citizens feel free to say what they like because the Internet offers an inaccurately perceived sense of anonymity.

However, in countries without solidly developed representative republics and / or democracies, freedom of speech is not acceptable or permitted to the same degree, and as we share our ideas freely, others can take and amplify meaning mimetically within their own cultures. While some memes are harmless, others can be dangerous. Anything an individual posts on the Web can be taken in any context and used by another for malicious purposes.

Google blocked access to the film clip in both Libya and Egypt on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 to alleviate international tensions (Garofoli, 2012).


Kaleem, J. (2012). “Libya Protests Spurred By Anti-Muslim Film Whose Maker’s Religion Is Widely Reported But Little-Known.” Huffington Post.

Garofoli, Joe. (2012). “Embassy attacks tied to controversial film.” San Francisco Chronicle.