The recent Osama Bin Laden (henceforth #OBL) incident has sparked a big furore over the authenticity of #OBL's death. This blog post is not about his tyranny or his methods or on the conspiracy involving his death. It is more about what he stood for and what he gained or lost by standing up for what he wanted in life.
O.K. Let me make something very clear. I am not idologising #OBL here. I am just presenting the facts in a different way.
Who is an enemy ?
This is a very basic question which needs to be answered before we can go further. What factors contribute to the fact that we consider someone as our enemy. The first and foremost factor according to me is "The-Game-Changer".
Yes, The Game Changer is the difference between the good guy and the bad guy. It differentiates the Hunter from the Hunted. #OBL changed the rules of the game. The original game was simple enough. He will be supplied with weapons and he will do the needful in Soviet Russia. Mission Accomplished. But then the inevitable happened. The man had to be taken down - a la Jason Bourne. But he was quick. He had learnt the game. He knew how his benefactors worked. He Changed The Name of the Game. He swiftly and boldly challenged his benefactors. Asked them to meet him head on. They were of course surprised at this behavior. They had fed him. They expected him to behave like a puppy. This reversal of roles put his benefactors in a spot. They were angry and confused and power-hungry. Here was a man, whom they fed scraps, and he rises up to defy them. Let's show him Who is the Daddy.
And this is exactly what started the conflict.
Bin Laden's story is almost very similar to that of "Carlos" from the Bourne Identity. The man was a legend. Come to accept it, as his reputation spread, it became difficult to sift the reality from the legend. Local Rebel groups called upon him for funds and manpower, an in-direct way of declaring their allegiance to him. Governments purposely id'ed these rebels to be mercenaries so that they could indirectly blame Bin Laden for sponsoring terrorism and attributing it to foreign intervention. They tried to bring in a pressure-cooker situation where there was a need to remove these local rebels as a means to curb terrorism. It worked. And Osama Bin Laden became a wanted terrorist. And as Brian Whitaker puts it, clearly and succinctly -
If he did not exist he would have to be invented.
Andrew Brown is not far from the truth, when he says -
"If the cause for which American entered Afghanistan was simply revenge, then they are now free to leave. But his real death will come only when he is quite forgotten, and I don't see that happening for a very long time. It certainly didn't happen today."
Naom Chomsky in his essay in Guernica Magazine last week, said -
"...that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders.."
Throughout history, we have witnessed first hand, the power of an Idea. An Idea can change the world. Men have lived for it. Fought for it. Died for it. All for the sake of an idea. And that is exactly what Bin Laden stood for. Idea.