So let me be a martyr,
dwelling in a high mountain pass
among a band of knights who,
united in devotion to God,
descend to face armies.
Whenever Bin Laden is mentioned the gentrified post colonization mind sees the visage of a villain. Who was Bin Laden? A terrorist. Yes, but what was he before being a terrorist? A terrorist? Bin Laden is said to be nothing before 9/11. The assumptions for most are, he was a blood thirsty caveman who one day woke up and thought 9/11 would be a good thing to do. What’s fascinating is that he was a poet too.
“The peace that they foist on Muslims is in order to ready and prepare them to be slaughtered, and still the killing goes on. So, if we try to defend ourselves, they call us “terrorists”, and the slaughter still goes on.”
Bin Laden led a sentimental life. Soviets breached the sanctity of Afghanistan in 1979, the Saudi royal family (encouraged by the CIA) sought to provide the Afghans with an Arab legion, preferably led by a Saudi prince, who would lead a guerrilla force against the Russians. Not only would he disprove the popularly held and all too accurate belief that the Saudi leadership was effete and corrupt, he could re-establish the honourable tradition of the Gulf Arab warrior. True to form, the Saudi princes declined this noble mission.
Bin Laden, infuriated at both their cowardice and the humiliation of the Afghan Muslims at the hands of the Soviets, took their place and, with money and machinery from his own construction company, set off on his own personal jihad. Bin Laden was a tribal man. His motives fluctuated between loyalty and revenge. In upcoming years, he would become a hero, a saviour for children in the gulf world. Egyptians, Saudis, Yemeni, Kuwaitis, Algerians, Syrians and Palestinians would join Bin Laden’s or the CIA’s cause of defending helpless people against the clutches of the communist superpower with the call, “Cavalry of Islam, be mounted!”
Bin Laden was now a proud man. He thought he could win over any superpower when he had the resources and a holy cause by his side. Thus he proceeded his service to the royal family and fight off Saddam Hussain. He wrote letters upon letters asking the officials of Arab to not invite USA army to fight on the holy land of Mecca and Medina. He wrote that he could gather up his Afghans, his brave mujahideen, his Muslim brotherhood to fight the Iraqi army. He warned them that the holiest places of Arab should be fought only by Muslims. Did Bin Laden forget that King Fahd of Saudi Arabia was America’s friend first and his friend last?
No one listened. Bin Laden remained silent. Saddam was defeated. America stayed. Bin Laden again wrote letters after letters to ‘honourable and righteous scholars’ asking the troops to get out. No one listened. This much provocation was enough for a tribal man to erupt. Finally, he started a jihad against the foreign troops. His mission which started from getting Russian troops out of Afghanistan would end in getting American troops out of Saudi Arabia.
There is usually consolation for events,
But there is no solace for what has happened to Islam.
The Peninsula’s fate cannot be mourned.
Osama Bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the son of Yemeni Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a billionaire construction magnate with close ties to the Saudi royal family. In a 1998 interview, bin Laden gave his birth date as March 10, 1957. Despite it being generally accepted that bin Laden was born in Riyadh, his birthplace was listed as Jeddah in the initial FBI and Interpol documents. Some sources say he had a degree in civil engineering while some say he had one in public administration.
He was cherished by people of Afghanistan. He constructed roads, aided the poor and the orphaned, attempting to make the desolate city less miserable for its inhabitants. Robert Fisk writes, “My first impression was of a shy man. With his high cheekbones, narrow eyes and long brown robe, he would avert his eyes when the village leaders addressed him. He seemed ill-at-ease with gratitude, incapable of responding with a full smile when children in miniature chadors danced in front of him and preachers admired his wisdom.”
“Before a battle, God sends us seqina—tranquillity. Once I was only thirty metres from the Russians and they were trying to capture me. I was under bombardment but I was so peaceful in my heart that I fell asleep. This experience of seqina has been written about in our earliest books. I saw a 120- millimetre mortar shell land in front of me, but it did not blow up. Four more bombs were dropped from a Russian plane on our headquarters but they did not explode. We beat the Soviet Union. The Russians fled . . . My time in Afghanistan was the most important experience of my life.”
Bin Laden hated Jews, communists, Americans and Shias. He claimed that America wasn’t accusing Iraq for killing his own Kurds but was indirectly promoting this through various agents in the region.
He prepared himself for battle
For the matter was very grave.
I will don my armour and defend her
With teeth and stones
Would you leave us besieged by
the infidel wolves, eating my wing?
They have not ceased harrying us
These sons of evil, from all sides
So where is the nobleman among the sons of my religion
Who will defend his noble brothers with the sword?
Death is better than a life of humiliation
And some shame none can erase.
The bearded, black clothed, turbaned, ferocious mujahedeen of Afghanistan headed by Osama bin Laden and other prominent leaders who fuelled the decline of Soviet were described as moral equivalent of founding fathers’ and later, Reagan himself ordered 15 missiles on him and none of them hit him. Osama Bin Laden would appear videos advising US citizens on who they should vote on.
In an interview-
TA: So you say that this is an eye for an eye? They kill our innocents, so we kill theirs?
OBL: Yes, so we kill their innocents—this is valid both religiously and logically. But some of the
people who talk about this issue, discuss it from a religious point of view…
When asked why was he fighting and opposing the Americans? He answered, “because you attack us first and continue to attack us”.
In Palestine, where accusations of anti-Semitism smother the voices who speak against the relentless abuse they face and the fabrication of their history; in Russia, Chechen; in India, Kashmiris; by Jews, Lebanon; America spectated, comfortably allowing the atrocities. Siphoning their security, stealing their wealth, occupying them at paltry prices because of their international influence and military threats America felt as guilt free and right in their actions as a freshly delivered baby.
Starving the children in Iraq, funding the bombing of Afghanistan- Bin Laden wrote countless letters informing the world about the steps he could against this. But nay, who was a greater victim in these unfortunate tragedies but poor America? Indeed, no country can be a victim greater than the land of the free. If only it was as free of its victim complex as well.“
“His posthumous legend lives on, like that of Guevara, to inspire other such knights, until such time as different, more humane heroes can attract the idealism of Muslim youth, and find a better way not only to liberate their homelands but also to forge a brighter future for those liberated.”
His legacy also lives on as an evidence that a UK school names “All Saints Academy Dunstable” used his photo to depict Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)