As I was preparing to go to bed on 11 September, I suddenly discovered the news about the American Embassy in Cairo being stormed by angry Egyptians ostensibly offended by a film (Innocence of Muslims) that they claimed was not only an affront to the Prophet of Islam but one made by Coptic Christians in the United States. Little did I know that I would wake up the next morning to what still feels like a Ramadan television serial gone bad.
Since the film fiasco began, a good deal has been written about who made or did not make the film. It makes no sense now to rehearse the chaotic revelations (chaotic, it seems, by design) over the last several days regardingwho produced the film and who directed it, what actors and actresses actually thought they were doing, how it managed to make it into Egyptian and, in turn, Middle Eastern media, and how it was linked or not to the killing of the United States Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in Benghazi. Juan Cole offers a succinct summary. And The Atlantic also offers a timeline of sorts of the chaotic revelation. And now, "protests" have spread throughout the region and continue to rage in Cairo. What I want to do here is to offer some raw thoughts about why I think all of this matters to Copts and to Muslims.