Saddam Hussein is long gone dead and the US virtually unilaterally celebrates the death of a man called Osama bin Laden at the hands of US military special forces. A sentiment resonates around Arab world: what now?
The pundits are quick to point out that this assassination is "not a turning point but a milestone", "we must be more vigilant than ever" and foreseeing more of the same in Iraq and Afghanistan. Reserved Europeans are washing their hands of the celebrations, labeling them in an array of carefully constructed euphemisms which boil down to criticisms of it being in poor taste. But the media outlets on both sides of the North Atlantic, their ears finely tuned to any kind of spectacle hysteria which butters their bread, are cashing in on the ratings just the same. Some perhaps a notch or two less theatrically than others but they are all so close these days that it is hard to tell them apart.
On the heels of the Royal Wedding anti-climax which ended with a 2-billion-strong collective "uhm...what was that all about, then?", the death of the western world's most notorious terrorist and designated bad guy came as a welcome breath of fresh blood that gives people some substance to sink their teeth into. There is a similarity between the Royal Wedding and the bin Laden assassination other than media's undertaking to increase audiences: they are both elaborate pageants full of fake pomp and staged sincerity to trick people into celebrating another round of our renewed commitment to give praise to our rulers, which gives legitimacy to their rule. They are both made to serve the same purpose of uniting people in a belief that the event is a symbolical affirmation of the righteousness of the system which we live under.
Osamamania is dominating the news on every channel with all sorts of weird reactions being cobbled together as some sort of a newsworthy report. Arbitrary people from far reaches of the world and all walks of life are being asked how they feel about the death of Osama bin Laden, live, over telephone and Skype. Twitter feeds and Facebook statuses are analyzed for sensory mood of The People and how they are "reacting to this shocking turn of events". We'll keep you updated. Yes, we have with us Ahamdajahmida live on webcam from Saudi Arabia. Tell us - what is the reaction of people over there? Well, we are shocked and completely - And how do the people view this turn of events? Is this something that we can load a question with or is he seen as more of a hero, a liberator for the oppressed Arab world? Well it's certainly not a loaded question so I'm gonna go with b). Well there you have it and now over to our correspondent in East Siberian Tundra - Burt Muskospritzer. Burt, how has the wilderness reacted to this joyous and wonderful occasion? Yes, Jeenna, it is quite a sight, flowers a blooming, bears are hunting the few remaining salmon and you can just tell that the mood here is one of quiet contemplation as the news sloooooowly starts creeping in and settling over the landscape. No earthquakes yet but we will be here, as always, live, updating on the turn of events as they happen. Back to you in the studio. Thank you, Burt. More with the sports and the weather after the break. COCA-COHHHHHLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...
It would be an episode of South Park in the not-too-distant past but it seems that the mockery media subjugates people to these days is so far deeply entrenched by now, nobody even pays attention. Which kind of is the point of mass media, when you think about it. Boy I sure feel sorry for Trey and Matt. It's going to take some doing to be even more absurd than this amount of absurdity.
Meanwhile, the celebratory mood in North America can only be compared to sporting fans jubilation as their team lifts the coveted trophy. It is pure, unadulterated jubilation and joy. As the US president made the official announcement he was greeted with a spontaneous standing ovation. The kind of unreserved outpouring of emotion that comes from undoubted certainty in both absolute ethical correctness of and complete and total victory for one's cause. Does the US have motivation for this kind of outpouring of emotion? Absolutely. Does the US have moral grounds to? Absolutely not. Does the US even have a leg to stand on in declaring this to be an achievement?
Well let's see here, shall we? US citizens authorized their government (evidently with full consent judging by their reactions) to spend over a trillion and hundred billion dollars on destroying as much in net worth of infrastructure across the Persian Gulf and Afghan Plains, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process, a few thousand of their own in order to SHOOT ONE GUY IN THE EYE. It seems all those cop shows are finally permanently tattooed on the brains of the collective populous as acceptable foreign policy. Hardly surprising, really. When you've watched the good guys in uniforms destroy a couple of buildings in an hour to catch Rosco: The Evil Dealer, more than 10 bazillion times it's bound to fuck with your reasoning and sense of priorities just a smidgen. But despite the glaringly obvious, the overwhelming, vast majority of people are all simply letting their hair loose and jumping on the bandwagon to join in on the celebration of... well you got me there. What are they so fucking happy about, anyway?
Not just the right-wingers but the "centrists", too. Jon Stewart pushed the punchline 'Death of A Mockingturd', uncharacteristically both crude and unfunny in a segment that would have been funny had it been a parody of mass ecstasy with genuine exclamations about 'death of al-Qaida' and 'We're BACK BABY!' to the hysterical approval of his "progressive" audience. We are back? Who is "we" and where did "we" go?
Osama bin Laden, if his son's account is anything to go by, was a cold and aloof man even when he was working with the fine patriots at the CIA. His political conviction was largely rooted in the religious fundamentalist equivalent of nationalist supremacy. He was very much driven by purpose of eradicating Soviet and Western imperialism with his own brand of divinely ordained imperialism, a holy war to restore order to the world he saw corrupted and perverted by secular and Christian influence. He was a deeply disturbed man driven to desperate needs and fanaticism in part by circumstances of authoritarian upbringing and oppression and in part by his lack of moral apprehension. In the final chapter of his life, in a tale every bit as bizarre as the apprehension of Serbian war criminal, Radovan Karadzic, bin Laden, too, chose to hide himself in plain sight, living out the remainder of his life in a compound in Pakistan - a testimony to the competence of US intelligence giving reports he was hiding in a cave in another country (which, by the by, paved way for full scale invasion of that country). For most of his post-911 life he mainly held a symbolic role in the fundamentalist Islamic world as a symbol of struggle to restore the Caliphate. Occasionally he resurfaced with public video recordings to great controversy, issuing press releases. He taunted his enemies with words of defiance and insanity, calling for more bloodshed, more violence, more death.
Arguably not by choice, he was a symbol in the west, too. He was The Devil incarnate to a large population of the US. He was the anti-Christ, the embodiment of evil, the personification of everything foul and wrong with the world. And now the Boogeyman is dead. The adulation is certainly explainable but still inexcusable.
The amount of hate toxin - so primal and easily comparable to 1984-esque outpouring of fear towards The State enemy - is both perplexing and frightening. It is only in these rare moments when even the most reserved liberals like Stewart come in full-pledged patriotic outpouring (in his own "unique" comedic flavor, of course) does it become perfectly clear just how deeply... FUBAR (I pondered on that one for a bit and settled on the most accurate) the American mentality truly is and how much hooked US is on paranoid-delusional hate. It takes a while for heroin to truly sink its teeth into a user and the sippers of the classy-brand, vintage, acceptable patriotism have been flying high on opiate delusions for quite some time now, perhaps without realizing themselves just how high and how long. But their dependence is so obviously complete, their habit so strong, now that they have collectively and to sound of roaring applause expressed their belief that death of one man vindicates the US foreign policy in the Middle East over the last decade. Hundreds of thousands of civilians, children and women in large number of cases, have, evidently, all died not in vain as bloody sacrifices at the altar of Mars and Mammon but rather for this one all-powerful, all-purifying moment when an old man on dialysis is shot in the head and the entire ordeal finally put to rest in the annals of history with a resounding "Mishin Accomplished".
The attack on the World Trade Center bin Laden allegedly co-ordinated - a feat never actually proved only assumed as he cryptically and ambiguously took responsibility for the deed - was without doubt, the most profound event with the most devastating consequences and impact on the Arab world since the Crusades. Bin Laden singlehandedly, without as single solitary other motivating factor whatsoever (*wink* corporate oil interests *wink* - stop me if I'm being too subtle) invited the wrath of the largest, best equipped, most costly and deadliest military war machine in recorded human history into the region. As they descended on Baghdad, with Kabul already a notch in their belt, American troops killed and destroyed in a righteous indignation, fully justified by the fact 2 buildings and 3,000 Americans died 4 years before in an attack organized and executed by Saudi Arabian extremists, spawning some great TV dramas.
The culmination of this effort can now be net-summed as a triumph by the killing of bin Laden, somehow. To maintain an objective distance from an idiotic notion that Osama bin Laden, a Saudi terrorist, getting shot by heaven-knows-who in a Pakistani bungalow, is somehow intimately connected with the last 10 years of bloody conflict it helps to ask: does the death of bin Laden, a man who has absolutely no operational role with any military cells of any fundamentalist extremist organizations anywhere, make any of events preceding this one worthwhile for the Afghans and the Iraqis? The American's have en masse declared so. I fail to see how that conclusion could be drawn myself, but perhaps I am just not pumped enough with the juice from the fruit of Tree-o-Liberty the US is refreshing with blood of Arab civilians.
Death of Osama bin Laden changes nothing. Correction - death of Osama bin Laden changes nothing but the outcome of 2012 US elections and for Hillary Clinton that means only getting to be Madam President in her 70's when the Mad Hatter calls for a swap of seats that allows her to run against another Democrat (surely any person's peak years to be put in charge of having a finger on The Button). Through the fundamentalist world, the flags of rage are flying higher than ever. The instability they caused in the world is just the beginning for them. They are in it for the long haul and while the death of one of their most devout spiritual icons is most regrettable, the very healthy state of independent cells, thriving across the globe, will most certainly be as ever ready and willing to blow shit up when everyone else least expect it; plunging the world into more fear, more "tightening of security", more draconian laws, more defense budgets, more invasions, more bombings and more impotent mockery from Stewart as he seeks his quest to liberate the truth from the "wrong" kind of patriotism. To not see the ridiculousness of making a martyr out of a guy who proclaimed himself to be one to followers already hell-bent on a future of destruction as he bid them farewell with parting words "kill them all", instead choosing to celebrate this new chapter of death and destruction is to be so heavily deluded by the idea of good guys and bad guys that no amount of reasonable argument will ever be able to reverse. The covert guerrillas of the Caliphate have achieved their goal. Americans celebrate in the streets as brown-shirts run rampant in their own cities and all over the Middle East. Restrained liberals are calling for blood, everyone is dancing in a euphoria also seen in the fanatical glow in eyes of those they call 'enemies of freedom'. Americans have made full metamorphosis into becoming unapologetically that which they sought to destroy, poisoned by the very hypocrisy they seek to reveal.
The flip side of nationalism is always racism. It’s about self-exaltation. It's about denigration of others. That can always be effectively used by the Stalins, Hitlers and bin-Ladens of this world to harness and use for their own ends but not without everyone first succumbing to vilification of other people and personification of that villainy with iconic monuments like, ironically, Osama bin Laden. While the bin-Ladens serve this dual role of savior for some and object of fear for others, the military juntas, secret police abductions, political assassinations and ethnic cleansing are always carried to their gruesome conclusions by those who fall prey to seductive rhetoric of patriotic glee.
This entire sequence of events and the reactions it has provoked serves to once again give us a stern warning as to the true proximity of authoritarian regimes and totalitarianism in our own midst while eloquent praise of virtues of nationalism, as always, serves as its guise.
The people are celebrating hate and fear but this is not a celebration of Osama bin Laden's death. This is a celebration of his life and everything he stood for.