Monday, May 2, 2011

The death of Osama Bin Laden

September 11, 2001 was a day many around the world remember as the most tragic day of their lives. The world watched as aeroplanes came and collided against the World Trade Centre buildings killing thousands. The world went into a state of shock. America the citadel of world power shook to its ground.

 And then reports emerged that the AlQaeda was behind it. It was said to be masterminded by Osama Bin Laden a onetime Saudi national who had now taken refuge in the Afghanistan Mountains. He was the same Laden to whom the Kenyan US embassy bombings were attributed to. And soon America declared Osama as its enemy number one and a war on terror.

President Bush unveiled his plan of curbing terrorism worldwide. The concept of ‘Islamic terrorism’ was institutionalised and USA began its search for Osama Bin Laden. If anything this institutionalization of a religion in terms of terror was the single most tragic event in the history of this century. Religion is akin to faith something which is personal. However the Western world and Al-Qaeda left no stone unturned to turn a religion into a battle cry. Al-Qaeda developed a call of war to save Muslims while the Western world retaliated in bombs and racial profiling. The world was divided into two regions the ‘bad’ Muslims and the good world. A few countries like India thankfully chose to stay away from this madness but the rest of the world fell for it.

Afghanistan was the automatic target for the Americans who wanted to wipe out Osama Bin Laden. The Taliban militia was defeated and efforts were made to restore normalcy in the trouble torn valley. However the world had not learnt its history lessons right. No power in the world had ever been able to control the proud Afghani tribals and the West was no exception. The Afghanistan which they had liberated soon turned into a house of chaos which was impossible to control and it stayed on that way. And then US turned its hands on the most unlikely places of the world Iraq. It was a well known fact that for the dictator that he was Saddam Hussain had never allowed terrorists or Al-Qaeda to ever set base in his land. And yet in the name of war on terror the US choose to attack Iraq. Iraq was another tragic failure for the Americans.

For 10 long years this war on terror continued. Conspiracy theorists accused USA of staging the WTC attacks to gain access to oil. Bush was selected for a second term but finally he bowed out. Barack Obama rose to presidency in US in hopes of change. It had been 10 long years since the war on terror began and the world was finally beginning to see the uselessness of it. The European powers began to move away from the US led wars and US had an unlikely ally in Pakistan now. The relationship with Pakistan itself was a love-hate one with both sides not being able to trust each other. AlQaeda had ceased its activities to a large extent and the world was no more ready to believe that this was a war of Muslims versus the world. And then suddenly after a lull of 10 years news comes that Osama Bin Laden was dead.

It is in this historical context that we must understand the death of Osama and what he means for the world. As soon as he was declared killed, President Barack Obama went live to give the world the news that the nemesis of the world Osama was no more. It must have been a sense of relief since this Osama was the same mujahedeen that the USA had created in the early 1980’s to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Analysts say that there could not have been a more convenient timing; the war on terror is at an all time lull. There is massive clamor at home for the US to bring its troops back .President Barack Obama himself faces a presidential reelection. And this news of Osama being killed not only brings back some sort of legitimacy to the US but also poses as a welcome relief for the US and its allies in Middle East who are going through their worst crisis in decades. The ‘Arab Spring’ as the surge of popular revolts in the Middle East is being called has threatened to sweep power away from the powerful US allies and put them in the hands of genuine democratic governments. The falling of one if it’s most powerful “Camp David” ally Hosni Mubarak has surely served as a warning to the US which now watches Middle East with great anticipation. It was this great caution that saw US not jumping the gun in Libya and allowing Europe to take a lead. And in the midst of all this the death of Osama even though surrounded by questions comes as a great relief.

This incident also poses a doubt on the future of the Pakistan-US relationship. This relationship had already seen its worst phase when CIA agent Raymond Davis took law in his own hands and showed no discretion in killing Pakistani citizens. However with the latest reports that the Pakistani authorities were not even informed about the impending strike near Islamabad which killed Laden, will further hasten the detoriation of ties. And in the midst of world scrutiny the major question that will be asked to Pakistan is that did they not know of Osama existence? Pakistan once again will be subjected to world pressure. But as always the balance of International Politics will work in its favour. So while USA gets increasingly close to the Indian establishment the Chinese establishment leaves no stone unturned to gain new leverage in Islamabad. The balance of power in South East Asia is always crucial and the world leaders would make sure that their interest and stake in this game is always safe.

So how do we look at the death of Osama Bin Laden? The nitty-gritty of international polity will always ensure that the death of Osama Bin Laden will be used to fulfill its own agenda. For the world this doesn’t hold much relevance. However it is the symbolic relevance of this particular incident that would go on to heal the wounds of the world. The death of a person is not an occasion to be rejoiced. It is an incident to ponder and look over. The name Osama Bin Laden brought miseries to many who lost their loved ones in the WTC attacks. It brought anger to the eyes of the parents of hundreds of American teenagers who were plucked out of their lives of their colleges and thrown into hostile battles in Afghanistan and Iraq.It brought misery to millions of Pakistanis and Afghanis living in the tribal regions who lost their loved ones in drone attacks which were part of war on terror. One single name Osama Bin Laden etched pain and misery in the hearts of millions around the world. It created divide among Muslims and non Muslims. 

Whether he was a self made entity or manufactured by America mattered little to those who lost their lives. What they knew was the face terror had and now he is no more. So while they don’t rejoice and dance they feel closure. The feel a sense of justice that this mindless war that the world had embarked on would end .They hope and pray that this would serve as a new ode to world peace the dawn of a new era a world without Osama Bin Laden. USA must end its war on terror because it too was a part of this terror mechanism; the world deserves a better chance at peace. Perhaps the words of a mother of an American marine serving in Afghanistan on the eve of the declaration were most apt. When asked how she felt about the news she merely whispered “Osama is dead now bring my son home.”

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