GRIM PICTURES of an angry mob tearing the US flag and burning the US embassy in Libya made for a sad read. But when one realised what caused such mob violence then one feels speechless. A two-hour long YouTube movie led to lives being taken and others to be hurt, so the power of this film can't be overlooked. While many say that the film insulted the Prophet, YouTube also says that there is nothing wrong with the video as it is within guidelines and hence it will stay on the video sharing network.
While one tries to understand the way human minds work, a number of questions come to the fore. Why the hue and cry over a video that was clearly trying to test one's patience? Moreover, are Muslims over-reacting? Is YouTube being responsible by just restricting the concerned video in Libya and Egypt, while making it viewable in the rest of the world? If some people will always have problems with entertainment and art then where is the freedom of speech?
What comes to mind is Salman Rushdie's words in the India Today conclave, where he said that negativity is glamorous and one should not attach it to anything as it rebounds and makes people curious about the same thing. This happened in the present case too, as most of the people who had seen the movie would not have mentioned it as it was a really poor (film wise) but since it caused so many people to act in such a violent manner - it ended up being watched, discussed and analyzed.
So should Google and YouTube take responsibility and take it down? Vineet Kumar Singh, a journalist says,“Why take it down? Wasn't Da Vinci Code similar as it also said things that the Christians were not happy about? So if that is still available then why should this be taken down. I believe that in order for the world to progress, freedom of speech is a necessity and until and unless we know how to listen and forget till then we are not living in democracy.” Allekhya Bolla, on the other hand, believes, “One should not hurt other people's religious beliefs. For peace and harmony to really be with us we have to consider other people's feelings and not be selfish about it.
Rajat Bhatia, a reporter says, “Muslims take offense at the twitch of an eyebrow. They are like that. We have so much stuff that goes against other religion but no one is bothered as much as the Muslims. I just feel that the entire world should not give into their whims and fancies and they would not throw so many tantrums.”
Neither Google nor YouTube has taken responsibility as they say that the video was within their guidelines. Ashwani Upadhyay, a Delhi-based freelance journalist feels, “Google should remove it since it owns the website, also it does share the responsibility of maintaining peace and harmony in society and not spreading hatred among communities, along with the governments.” The ongoing debate will not cease so soon but everyone should be responsible, not just Google.
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