A Pre-emptive R.I.P. for Maker of Anti-Islam Film

A photo of the producer of the notorious anti-Islam film being blamed for the upheaval on the other side of the world has been released. The photo of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula shows him sitting on a couch with one of the actresses in the film. For reasons that should be clear, I am not going to publish his photo here, despite, unfortunately, its being posted all over the Internet already. I don’t want to contribute in any way to his now-inevitable assassination.

The NY Daily News was one of the outlets not to let such matters bother them. They published the photo with an accompanying headline that left me slack-jawed: ”FIRST PHOTO: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula revealed! Photo surfaces despite his efforts to shield face from media after interview with police” (emphasis mine).

Let’s pause for a moment. “Despite his efforts to shield his face.” So the Daily News acknowledges that Nakoula does not want his face to be seen. Why do they suppose he made such a great effort to keep his face unknown to the public, which efforts we witness in the photo below? Does he think himself ugly? Does he have a pimple on his nose that he’s ashamed of? Does he fear for his life? I think the latter is the answer. So then why do we suppose the Daily News, TMZ, and other, countless websites decided to show the photo?

Is there some journalistic purpose being served in posting and reposting the man’s face for all to see? He is not on any Wanted lists. The only purpose served is to sate the public’s curiosity. The purpose served by not publishing the photo is Nakoula’s protection. Protection is worthier a cause than curiosity.

As just about everybody knows now, and as I said before, Nakoula’s movie is what many are blaming on the violence that erupted in the Middle East against American embassies. That the first glimpse of the film, via a 14-minute trailer, was revealed all the way back in July, and that the violence began months later on the supposedly coincidental 11th anniversary of 9/11, seems to be lost on them. They also don’t seem to believe it is significant that al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri called on his fellow Muslims to avenge the death of al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, who was killed by a US drone strike in June.

Putting aside these facts, let’s say that the Muslims all over Europe, Africa, and the Middle East truly are going berserk over the otherwise inconsequential 14 minutes of a movie that portrays Muslims in a less than positive light (and who would want to do that? Muslims are totally rational people!). People say Nakoula should not have made the movie because he ought to have foreseen that rational and peaceful violence would erupt from its production. People would die if he made this movie, so he should not have made it.

Do the same people holding these views also believe Nakoula’s photo should not have been released? After all, people (namely, Nakoula) will die if his photo is released.

What a perfect testament to Islam’s tribalism that a man who hurt the feelings of its followers must now live the rest of his life in hiding. With absolutely no thanks, of course, to the news media’s widespread publishing of his face.