US Embassy Egypt: Cairo protesters storm embassy over a movie or ….

The NYT reports that the protest at the US Embassy in Cairo was a result of “outrage over a movie being promoted by an anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian campaigner in the United States, clips of which are available on YouTube and dubbed in Egyptian Arabic.” The NYT calls it a mysterious anti-Muslim movie. The CNN clip in YouTube (below) attributes the protest over a Dutch film, but that does not sound right. The controversial Dutch film was released in 2008 so that could not have been the cause for the current protests.

The protesters climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo Tuesday and brought down the American flag, replacing it with a black flag with an Islamic inscription to protest a video attacking Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.  Our embassies overseas have always been targets.  But in this new world of persistent connections, it does not take much to trigger a protest or a mob attack.  Whether it is some nutty Florida pastor threatening to burn the Quran (who called off the burning with a free car) or some obscure California filmmaker who no one has ever heard of until the embassy storming — the repercussions across the world are almost immediate and made louder by social media.

CBS/AP reports that only a few staff members were still inside the US Embassy, as embassy security apparently had sent most staff home early after learning of the upcoming protest.

Additionally, CBS/AP also reports that according to Libyan officials armed men also stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi – once the seat of the Libyan revolution – and set the building ablaze after there was a similar protest there against the film.  The report cites Wanis al-Sharef, an interior ministry official in Benghazi, saying that the attackers stormed the consulate after firing in the air. He says nobody was in the consulate at the time.  However, Reuters is reporting that armed gunmen and security forces clashed at the consulate office in Benghazi.

The US Embassy in Cairo released the following statement.  While the statement below does not have a time stamp, says the statement below was posted at 12:18 p.m. on Sept. 11:

U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement
September 11, 2012

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

The embassy also took to Twitter about a couple hours ago amplifying its condemnation of “misguided individuals” but did not say much about the misguided mob attack.


Egypt, of course, has received an average of $2 billion in aid annually since 1979 making it the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel. Makes one wonder — over thirty years of aid and counting, where did that aid go?  Our relationship with that country is so razon thin, anything and everything can bring on any sort of protests.  The embassy’s Emergency Message #24 says that on September 11, several different groups are calling for demonstrations in both downtown and Garden City to “protest a range of issues.”

So it’s about a movie, or it’s about something else … anything … everything …

Perhaps it’s time to seriously rethink the US aid strategery?


Billy Collins – The Names

Billy Collins was the U.S. poet laureate at the time of the 9/11 attacks. He wrote “The Names” in honor of the victims. He read the poem before a special joint session of Congress held in New York City in 2002, and in a PBS program last year, see clip below.

The Names – by Billy Collins

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.
In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name —
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,
I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner —
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O’Connor.
When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening — weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds —
Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.