Until when? Until the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. A mean film that has been kept posted on some corner of the Internet becomes, all of a sudden, popular. Where? In Libya, a place that has just recovered from a civil war and is still trying to mend the effects of that war and that is suffering from poverty and deprivation. You are urged to think that Libyan people are online at all times, keeping an eye on You Tube.
Then, our Internet-addicted Libyans rushed to protest the film and attacked the US Consulate. But how come protesters knew the US ambassador was visiting the consulate in Benghazi at exactly that time. A rocket launcher targeted the consulate's secret shelter, hitting the ambassador and his accompanying group. Even if we suppose they somehow knew about the ambassador's visit, how did they know the location of the shelter? It was a perfect hit! It was a planned attack! It not only created an uproar in the US, but also reinforced Islamophobic perceptions by ensuring that some naive Muslims were provoked to stage violent protests.
Is it just coincidence that these violent incidents occurred six weeks before the US presidential elections? If it were not for this plan, Barack Obama would have entered the elections as a "president who eliminated the leader of al-Qaeda." Now he is portrayed as a man who watches the global attacks against US embassies and does nothing as US public officials die around the world.
Who is the bum who made the film -- should I even call the piece of nonsense a film? As far as we understand from what he does and what he says, he is a provocateur who commits hate crimes. He is a criminal released on parole. He says he is financed by 10 Israeli donors. Is this true? The “Israeli businessmen” must then answer these claims. He says he befriends the infamous priest who attempted to set the Quran ablaze in the US. Churches must strike off this arrogant priest.
What should Muslims do?
In the first place, Muslims must act the way Islam instructs us to act. Whoever masterminded the film must have masterminded the reactions to this film just as those who plan the Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) attacks know exactly the reactions those attacks are going to provoke in the general public. Thus, those who were behind this film aim to portray the Muslim world as an underdeveloped region where people mindlessly destroy things or launch violent attacks against other people. At the same time, they are creating a new political climate in the West that will serve their purposes.
And it is a real shame that some naive Muslims fail to see these behind-the-scenes aims of this global operation. Noting the previous traps they fell into, Muslims must now learn their lesson. Of course, we are supposed to protest those who insult our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, but we must act with the foresight of believers in doing so. We should avoid the traps and we should not walk into the same trap twice. The previous provocations -- concerning the cartoon crisis, or Salman Rushdie -- were rehearsals of the straitjacket they had tailored for Muslims. No reaction that resorts to violence can attain its targets, but plays into the hands of those who tailored that jacket.
Some fanatics are unhappy with the spread of Islam and the rising population of Muslims in the West. They also hate the democratic approaches adopted by Western politicians who refuse to give in to Islamophobia, despite so much negative propaganda. They have set Islam as the target of their efforts to create a new bogeyman. Masses of people around the world are, unfortunately, ignorant about Islam. It is sad to acknowledge that there are not many people of good caliber who can represent Islam properly and who are capable of promoting the universal message of this peaceful religion.
Some powers have pushed the button to polarize the world. First, they provoke people heinously, then they portray Muslims as ignorant and violent people. Yet, a Muslim is supposed to be wary of these plots and maintain his/her pose against any provocation. The way to thwart provocateurs is obvious: to express oneself directly and with a good method, to correctly represent one's faith, to refrain from acting as pawns in the plots devised by others, to make one's claims through democratic and legally available means and to leave no room for ill-mannered people. Only then can we foil this global operation.
You cannot settle accounts with coups in this way
A lawsuit against the coup of Sept. 12, 1980 is under way. For some reason it is making slow progress. It takes months to decide whether subversive generals should attend the hearings in person or not. Worse still, as the current state of affairs implies, the whole matter is restricted to a few old generals. This is the wrong attitude. Already, for some time some circles have been propagandizing: "Those who issue orders in a coup should be tried. Those who receive those orders are innocent." This is a scandalous approach. A coup is not only a crime against humanity, but also a criminal act. Therefore, a person who receives illegal orders is supposed to object to this, saying, "What you want me to do is illegal."
On the anniversary of the Sept. 12 coup, many things were written in the papers. The story of Abdülkadir Yanık, which appeared in our paper, was touching. After his mother was tortured, Yanık was forced to assume the responsibility of the murders with which he was charged, and his mother lost her vision due to the blows to her head during torture. He retold his story on a program on the Habertürk TV channel. His story is heartrending. What unfairness! What brutality! How could a state official treat some people so heartlessly?
Yanık's story gives us a true glimpse into what happened during the coup of Sept. 12, but does the judiciary hear the elegiac lament emerging from it? "It is OK that Kenan Evren and his colleagues are called to account for their actions, but why isn't Mamak Prison Warden Raci Tetik being tried?" people ask. They then recount the names of the torturers one by one. "Why aren't these people called to account?" they ask.
They are perfectly right. If you put the blame of Sept. 12 on only a few aged generals, but do not touch those torturers, then this case file will not be closed and no one will see it as a fair trial. The torturers of that coup are among us. There is a sizable volume of information about who perpetrated torture and where. Numerous books were written, interviews made and memoirs published. Moreover, some victims turned to courts, and others wait for the courts to invite them to submit their applications. Many people lost their lives in torture; many were disabled or traumatized.
What happened during the Sept. 12 coup is not an unknown story. The names of torturers are known. Justice will not have been administered before they are tried. A trial that does not touch the torturers will be very symbolic and it will never relieve people's consciences. It is not a revengeful trial. This trial serves as a litmus test for our democracy and a properly functioning justice system. I hope everyone is aware of this.