Given the preoccupation of the American media with the possible closing down of the American government, and the preoccupation of American and world media with Japan's travails and the revolts in the Arab world, many Americans may have missed the news about the April 1 massacre of United Nations employees in Afghanistan.
That is unfortunate because it was as significant as it was instructive.
It began on Sunday, March 20, when a pastor named Terry Jones burned a Quran at his small church in Florida. To their credit, almost no American media covered the event, and a mere 30 people came to witness it. But Jones broadcast the offensive and asinine event on the Internet — and did so with Arabic subtitles.
To the best of our knowledge, since Sept. 11, 2001, when 19 Muslims murdered 3,000 Americans, not one American out of a population of more than 300 million has publicly burned a Quran. Nevertheless, some Muslims in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) claimed that this one American and this one act, which was condemned by every prominent American of every religion and every political persuasion, was deemed worthy of retribution. And that retribution was the slaughter of as many non-Muslims as they could find.