This morning I keep seeing bad stuff at the Guardian, via different directions – Terry Glavin at Facebook, Norm at Normblog, like that. I’ve seen so much bad stuff this morning that I feel as if I ought to point at it in disgust.
The horrific thing about Osama bin Laden was that he helped to kill thousands of innocent people throughout the world. But he was also in a strange way a godsend to the west. He simplified the world.
That “but” is interesting. So is that “the horrific thing.” The but is interesting because given what comes before, why have a “but” at all? There is no but. The first sentence is all we need to know. There is no “but” after that.
We’ll be reminded by heroes of anti-imperialism that the imperialists and neo-cons helped to kill thousands of innocent people too. True enough, but not as the goal. Not as the goal or a goal. Not on purpose.
That’s small comfort to the people killed. But what about their relatives and friends? What about the injured? I should think it makes a difference to them.
At any rate, it is different. Bin Laden killed people in order to kill people. Bin Laden wanted them dead, and he wanted more dead, as many as possible. He never whispered a word of regret for Gladys Wundowa or anyone else; he beamed with joy about his success at killing hundreds or thousands at a blow.
There is no “but” after that. There is nothing else about him that matters, that is in contrast to “the horrific thing” about him that was killing people and rejoicing to have done so. That isn’t “the horrific thing” about bin Laden, it just is bin Laden.
Al-Qaida became the new Soviet Union, and in the process Bin Laden became a demonic, terrifyingly powerful figure brooding in a cave while he controlled and directed the al-Qaida network throughout the world…
I just remarked yesterday that I went on thinking that way for an embarrassingly long time. Adam Curtis is still at it.
Then there’s Azzam Tamimi.
Soon after the fall of Hosni Mubarak I visited my old friend, the Hamas leader Khalid Mish’al, in Damascus. He told me he was sure the change in Egypt, which he expected would be followed by similar changes in other Arab countries, meant that it would not be too long before Palestine was free.
My friends in Gaza would tell me the same thing, and so would my relatives in Hebron and the diaspora. They all believed that the Mubarak regime was an impediment to the Palestinian struggle for freedom; once the Egyptian people were free, a genuine democracy in Egypt would support the Palestinians.
Free. Free, freedom, free – via Hamas.