This is not a story from the People’s Republic of China or the USSR circa 1972. No, this is the new American reality in which we have a man who has been locked up for making a movie vowing to finish the movie.
Who really needs to talk about Liu Xiaobo or Chen Guangcheng? Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, for all his faults, is America’s Chen Guangcheng.
Promising to finish the movie is a dangerous move, because assuming the White House is paying attention, they may give the nod to find another excuse for locking him up. Not hard to do when you’re already in prison.
Still he is backing away somewhat from his assessment of Islam. Or being more nuanced about it.
“It is not [a] religion movie,” he said. “I have a lot of Muslim friends and not all the Muslims believe in the terrorism culture. Some of them believe in this culture. That’s why we need to fight [against] the culture, not the Muslims. My enemy is the terrorism culture; this is my enemy.
“Of course I’m proud of it. If I could go back, I would do it again,” said Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian born in Egypt who came to the United States in 1984. “Everybody gets hurt in this culture. We need the world free of this culture. We have to fight it.”
“I am the blood voice for everybody who gets killed, or hurt, in this culture,” he continued. “I dedicate my life to fight with this culture … I’m never afraid.”
And he’s making it clear that he has nothing against the government because he, somewhat mistakenly, views America in terms of Egypt, where attacking Mubarak was more dangerous than attacking any single idea.
Yet, Nakoula, who must serve four years of supervised release following his prison term, refused to criticize the Obama administration. “Who am I to criticize the commander in chief?” Nakoula said. “Who am I? He knows more than me.”
That’s the right attitude for Egypt. But the wrong one for America. Obama doesn’t view Nakoula as a critic, but used him as a counter to appease Muslims. He didn’t try to silence dissent, but to intimidate critics of Islam.