Bin Laden as a Hero?

Bookmark this on Hatena Bookmark
Hatena Bookmark - Bin Laden as a Hero?
Share on Facebook
Post to Google Buzz
Bookmark this on Yahoo Bookmark
Bookmark this on Livedoor Clip
Share on FriendFeed
[`tweetmeme` not found]

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to visit Abbottabad in Pakistan. The town is where U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011.The house has been demolished and only debris remain, like some kind of historical ruins. It’s said that Bin Laden was living in the house for several years before the Americans finally found him. Did the Pakistani government know Bin Laden was staying in the town? Why did the U.S. eliminate any physical evidence of Bin Laden’s death by dumping the corpse in the sea? Many questions still remain, which we probably won’t get answers to for a long time.

After talking to several Pakistani people ranging from farmers to a well-educated student in the city, one thing that struck me was how people have positive sentiments toward Bin Laden. Even westernized upper-middle-class man who tend to be sympathetic to Americans about the 9-11 attacks, labeled Bin Laden as a “rebel”(who stood up against the American empire) rather than a “terrorist.”

Although I try in my thoughts and stance to be as neutral as possible, as a photographer who lived in the U.S for almost 20 years and is still working for the Western media, I have to admit that I’m more influenced by the Western way of thinking. I covered the 9-11 attacks, which killed the father of one of my colleagues and the experience at the rubble-filled ground zero convinced me that Bin Laden was nothing but a twisted, violent terrorist. After 13 years, my thoughts toward Bin Laden still haven’t changed.

But while traveling different parts of the world for the last 20 years, I also have learnt that thoughts change when places change. There is no absolute value or ‘right or wrong’ which applies to everyone. My experience in Pakistan wasn’t an exception. For many Americans, Bin Laden is a cold-blooded terrorist but he can be a hero to Pakistanis or some other parts of the world.

A Palestine journalist who lives in Islamabad told me an interesting story. One night after the 9-11 attacks happened, he was having dinner with an American journalist friend. The American asked him how did he feel when he saw people jumping out of the falling towers. The Palestine answered.

“The same feeling as yours when you see a Palestine killed by Israelis”

What he meant was this – Life has the same value whether it’s an American’s or Palestinian’s but why do you only cry for Americans while supporting Israelis massacring Palestinians?

“The friend seemed quite upset hearing my answer,” the Palestinian said.

The American probably had never tried putting himself in the Palestinian’s shoe until then.

The U.S. has historically manipulated the governments of other countries – Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador, to name a few – for America’s benefit. They sometimes tried to overturn governments or supported brutal dictatorships as long as it serves American interests. In recent years, the U.S. seems to have made many enemies in the Islamic countries as it has created a disastrous situation in the region after the failure of its military invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan. It opened up the opportunity for anti-American Islamic fundamentalists to grow drastically. Considering the circumstances, it’s understandable that many Pakistanis think of Bin Laden positively.

In the last weeks, two American journalists were executed in the worst way by the ISIS. No matter what is the reason behind it, these brutal and sick acts are not acceptable and forgiven. But the sad reality is that there are many people applauding on the other side of the world.

What appears to be right changes when the context – religious, ethnic or societal – changes. If people don’t recognize differences and keep opposing the values of others, the cycle of violence and hatred will continue.











ベトナムからニカラグア、サルバドルなど、アメリカは自らの国益のために多くの国の内政に干渉し、政権転覆を謀ったり、ときには独裁者の非道をも支援してきた。そんなアメリカの外交政策に抵抗感を持つ人は少ないないはずだ。近年においてはイラクやアフガニスタンへの理不尽な軍事侵攻の失敗によって、地域を混乱におとしめたことで、多くのイスラム国を敵にまわしてしまった感もある。これは、極端な反米を標榜する過激なイスラム主義者たちが増幅する下地をつくってしまった。こんな背景を考えれば、パキスタン人たちがその教育水準を問わず、 ビン・ラデンを肯定的に捉えているのも理解できる。



no comments

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *



There was an error submitting your comment. Please try again.