An enraged mob of more than one thousand ordinary Afghans stormed a UN compound in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, killing at least twenty members of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Friday. The rioting was in response to a band of racist Florida evangelical supremacists who made a public display of burning a Koran March 20.
UN Dispatch reported that the crowd that attacked the UN compound, in what it described as an area of Afghanistan deemed peaceful enough to have been turned over to Afghan security forces, were not Taliban insurgents or Al Qaeda operatives, but ordinary townsfolk who had been riled up at Friday prayers by news of hate merchant Terry Jones and his coven of publicity-obsessed spiritual defectives' Koran burning.
Terry Jones, head of the so-called Dove World Outreach Center, had insinuated himself into national headlines by threatening to burn Korans on September 11, 2010. Mollified by fawning attention from the likes of US Defense Secretary Richard Gates and US network television, Jones announced in ostentatious style that his tiny group of moral incompetents would magnanimously forgo Koran burning in the interest of world peace.
As Jones jonesed for more TV attention, he decided to go ahead with burning Korans, and staged a bizarre mock trial in which a Koran was "condemned" and executed by burning. As a result, twenty people are dead, and Jones is basking in the limelight of media attention. It is not known whether Jones and his group mistake their narcissistic media lust for religious fervor, or whether their self-serving piety is a sham.
The angry mob that overran the UN compound hadn't even been armed at the outset, but acquired weapons from UN guards they overpowered during the rioting. Five Nepalese guards and civilians from Norway, Sweden and Romania were among those killed, along with at least four of the rioters.
American white supremacists and right-wing extremists are delighted, as they hold the United Nations in deep disdain. They would cheer the failure of the UN Afghanistan mission, as they would cheer the dissolution of the body. This extremist view is not merely the crazed fantasy of a small group of psychotics, but is a core value of the Republican Party, including Republican John Bolton, George W. Bush's infamous choice to be the US Ambassador to the UN.
For folks out there unfamiliar with US law, freedom of speech is nearly unrestricted, but there are limits, the most prominent being speech that poses a "clear and present danger." The classic example of posing a clear and present danger is shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater that is not actually on fire. Speech intended to incite a riot is likewise not protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.
Jones and his little tribe of narcissists obviously acted to create a clear and present danger, and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This will likely not occur, as religious extremists like Jones are an important constituency for the Republican Party, and the Republican Party, with their plutocrat masters, are overlords of America. While President Barack Obama, a Democrat, denounced the violence in Afghanistan, he didn't utter a single word sanctioning hate monger Jones.
Obama and his Democratic Party are acting as mere place-keepers for the Republicans, acceding to every Republican whim, from crippling budget strangulation to the complete abdication of environmental stewardship. It is hate extremists like Jones who are coddled, as they are the GOP's front-line thugs enforcing the plutocrats' reign over their formerly democratic fiefdom.
By embracing its present Muslim-bashing identity, Dove World, once primarily an anti-homosexual cadre, found the fawning media stardom that many celebrity-obsessed Americans crave. Jones, who calls himself a pastor, will no doubt be able to expand his tiny base of twenty or thirty sycophants as a result of his media stardom. His original stab at fame garnered him a round of appearances on the network TV talk shows, and he will certainly be back on the A-list for a while. As his star inevitably dims, he will inevitably be inspired to carry out ever more horrific and grotesque demonstrations to rope in the media attention he, with his blow-dried hair and brushed muttonchop beard, so obviously lusts after. Every racist and evangelical supremacist will be emboldened to make his or her bid to star on Good Morning America and the Today Show.
It is an unconscionable tragedy that the lives and mission of earnest international aide workers are mere chattel to the GOP media circus that elevates gangs of back woods Neanderthals to stars of global statecraft.