Osama…

So, the real life version of the game “where in the world is Carmen Sandiego” is finally up with the discovery and then subsequent death of Osama bin Laden. The 6ft Saudi man on a dialysis machine who has managed to be hidden from the top agencies in the world… agencies who can count the freckles on my face when I sun-bake in my own backyard on a Sunday… and hidden for just under a decade since the announcement that he was the mastermind behind the horrendous Sept 11 attacks in 2001.

I remember that day, it happened late in the night here and I remember waking to a nightmare of people screaming. I remember not knowing what had happened until I went to my neighbour’s house in the morning for our routine trip to the train station only to be dumbstruck by the images of a smoking skyscraper, and then we watched as a second plane slammed into the second tower and I just kept thinking how ridiculous it all was. Later I would learn that friends of mine had lost partners and children in the destruction and I couldn’t do anything but gape at news reports and try to comfort people I knew across the otherside of the planet via the internet. Surreal was an understatement for the times. I still have a bunch of magazines from the days after, printed testimony of the times.

I remember agreeing with my US friends that someone had to pay for the atrocities that we had witnessed and when it was announced that it was a terrorist cell in the middle of nowhere, I found myself wondering “how did they manage to even pull this off?” I wanted justice for my friends, and for everyone else who had lost someone, but as Bush the second continued to make senseless and increasingly disjointed declarations on the villainy that was Al Qaeda and Osama, I found myself feeling less and less sure about what was going on… we were being snowballed… fill the world with information and let people get lost in it all.

So as it would happen, I started to get mad… this was being turned into a political issue, something that if it worked out okay, would at least give Bush his second term… weeks turned into months which turned into years and I still kept asking, how is it that they can’t find this supposed “mastermind”? I started reading a bit more, and I discovered a really creepy thing… the more you read… the less sense it all made. Then amongst all of this, came the conspiracy theories… which were then overtaken by the surprise find of Saddam Hussein… he was hiding in a hole in the ground… how crazy is that? Makes it sound like someone was walking along and looked down a hole and went *gasp* “Saddam! whatchu doin down there? Come out, people been lookin for your ass everywhere!” After his execution, I stopped following the news in the middle east as I realised something crucial (it took a while I know but everyone has to wait for their own penny to drop). The thing I realised was the simple fact that this was going to be never-ending.

So now they’ve finally found and removed Osama from the gene pool, but I found it interesting today that when I heard the news that my initial reaction was not “oh finally!” Instead it was a deep feeling of cynicism.  I caught myself thinking, “why only now?” and “so now what?” then I remembered conversations from last week when the wikileaks came out, revealing that Al Qaeda most likely have a nuclear weapon at their disposal hidden in Europe (of which my cynical brain then said “wonder if that is true or whether it’s in someone else’s power but they’re just saying it’s Al Qaeda”). I guess I can’t help but be cynical when it still stands that the FBI haven’t in 9+ years linked Osama to the 9/11 attacks (http://tiny.cc/6znp7). From the words of Rex Tom FBI Director of Investigative Publicity “bin Laden  has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”

However with everything I’ve said, and the fact that I’m still cynical about a lot of things that I hear on the news, don’t mistake my cynicism and comments for feeling sorry for Osama… regardless of whether he was truly the mastermind, or just the man who wanted to claim the act as his own, he was still a terrorist, he still encouraged men and women to go out and harm other human beings… and in his last cowardly act he used a woman as a shield when the navy seals came to collect him… and for those acts I hope that he gets the punishment he deserves and I hope that other terrorist leaders think twice about wanting to harm others…. remember this… what starts in chaos, ends in chaos.

Aside from my cynicism about all of this, I can’t help but feel concerned. Since sept 11, we’ve always had a face for the bogeyman of terrorism.. now who will replace this man? Who will we be told is the reason for the fear that allows governments to change laws that strip away our freedoms in the guise of protection.

I’m signing out tonight thinking that this blog post probably will make me sound like a raving crackpot, but these are the thoughts running through my head today… on this day which is being touted as historical.

Peace to all, and may my cynicism be unfounded, and may those who lost someone in any of the terrorist attacks over the last 10 years feel some closure at  this news.

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