The reaction says it all, there is celebration in the streets of New York, whilst silence in the streets of the Islamic world; freedom fighter or terrorist depends on whose perspective. There is no doubt many in the Islamic world and the non-Islamic world (e.g. Latin America), are privately mourning the death of Usamah Bin Laden, seen as a symbol of resistance to Western imperialism. Unlike Saddam Hussein and his ilk, Usamah Bin Laden died fighting like a Mujahid, as the old proverb says, he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.
It is disgusting the way the media constantly highlights the 3000 that perished in 9/11, as if the American and western lives are more valuable than others. The message construed is simple, its Bin Laden and 9/11, there are no other casualties and no other factors. Indeed, the entire narrative is false. They say 9/11 marks the beginning of the conflict, whereas the conflict started from the end of the First World War; the Arabs seeking independence were betrayed (Sykes-Picot treaty) for their support to the Allied forces. Their lands were carved up to suit the interests of the colonialists, who facilitated the migration of the Zionists to Palestine, paving the way for the creation of Israel. Eventually, the Arabs were ‘rewarded’ with Israel and the Palestinian Diaspora (nakba) for their cooperation and service to the colonialists.
What is even more absurd about the simple narrative of Bin Laden and 9/11 is that America is portrayed as the victim. Just the thought makes you laugh, it’s like you have to imagine the US Soldiers dressed as benign priests, rather than killing Iraqis for fun, as the numerous clips leaked on the internet with the awful images of Abu-Ghraib confirms!
Prior to 9/11, 500,000 Iraqi children were killed through barbaric sanctions, and post 9/11 almost a million innocent Iraqis died for those mythical WMDs! To date, nobody has been bought to account for the illegal war built on lies. The losses of innocence are conveniently classed as collateral damage that can be swept under the carpet like dirt! Has anyone been bought to trial for the carnage in Gaza, when the Israelis unleashed disproportionate force on the civilian population, committing a clear act of state-terrorism?
It is simplistic to call Usamah Bin Laden a terrorist, when his opponent has murdered much more civilians in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan, that pre-dates 9/11. Likewise, to call Usamah a religious fanatic is hypocritical, when George Bush is the one claimed to be talking to God,who allegedly inspired him to launch the war on the innocent people of Iraq. It is ironic that the Christian God of ‘love’ would order one to wage to war, rather than to turn the other cheek!
Regardless if you agree with the methods used by Usamah and his men, as an individual he outdid his opponents. He was far more eloquent than George Bush, a semi-literate guy with a drink problem, who often embarrassed the US by his numerous idiotic statements. Usamah also had far more integrity than Tony Blair, unlike Blair he never lied and was generous with his wealth, constantly helping the needy, Jason Burke elaborates on this in his book, Al-Qaeda. Whereas it took a lot of media pressure for Tony Blair (who did so well out of the Iraq war), to make some nominal contribution to the British soldiers who suffered losses.
The most important question is – did Usamah succeed to any level or was he a total failure. This depends on how you define success and failure, but we can avoid the debate, by looking at his main objectives. First was to create the Arabic Nahda (revival), this never materialised; despite the war waged over Iraq and the revelations of the gruesome events of Abu-Ghraib, the masses in the Arab/Islamic world did not revolt. In fact, the only uprisings we have seen are the recent revolutions sweeping through the Arab world, where the call is unanimous for a democratic government that is free from corruption and nepotism. The masses want secular freedom and democracy, rather than a Caliphate or an Islamic Emirate, they are no longer burning the American flags and chanting anti-Western slogans, they have come to realise that they need to take responsibility and clean their homes.
Secondly, Usamah failed to topple a single regime in the Arab/Islamic world. This is largely because he misread the situation, whilst many sympathise with his grievances, but do not support the creation of an Islamic State or an Islamic Emirate. It means one has to engage the masses in the Arab world politically to make the case for an Islamic State, how such a state can overcome the numerous issues that divide the Arab and Islamic world, and bring about unity. Thus, instead of waging wars on the West, they should have focused on building a stable prosperous Afghanistan based on the Sharia model that could act as a shining example. They could have shown how the various tribes of Afghanistan unified, overcoming their historical animosity; this would have had greater resonance in the Arab and Islamic world. However, the Taliban remained largely Pashtun based, and the Arabs remained as their guests, despite professing unity based on the Islamic laws and values.
Yamin Zakaria (Abu Usamah)
Published on 02/05/2011