Deciphering the complexity of Osama bin Laden
When the Abbottabad operation happened on May 2, 2011, I was struggling to get enrolled in B A-Psychology. As you are already familiar with the quality of education of our institutions, I would confess how my knowledge was strictly limited to my academic interest. For me learning centred my good grades, what was happening beyond the gates of my college never pulled my attention, not to speak of world affairs. So when the reports of Osama’s killing surfaced, confirming the dominant attitude, I blamed the evil force of America hell-bent on defaming, no actually, annihilating an Islamic world from the surface of the earth.
For years, we continued to remember Osama as a martyr, who devoted his life for the cause of Islam. Thanks to the world of books for disabusing my most of the beliefs.
Now coming to the review, when recently, Prime Minister Imran Khan called Osama a martyr, I couldn’t simply stomach it and was intrigued to read the name, tantamount to terror. Though I had already read Osama in “Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban” “Inside the Middle East” and a documentary illustrating critical understanding about the life of Osama, I wanted to read him from a close-lense; something credible, straight from the Horse’s mouth and as luck would have it, I stumbled upon “Growing Up Bin Laden”.
Having gotten my eyes on the title, I was a bit sceptical about the accounts of the book, obviously, words coming out of the terrorist’s son were bound to warrant doubts, gladly I didn’t drop the idea of reading it. Now, I can say it worth the effort.
The book “Growing Up Bin Laden” comprises interviews with Najwa bin Laden (Osama’s first wife) and Omer Bin Laden (son) taking the shape of a memoir of them. Even so, both of them narrated almost the same stuff about Osama, the rendition by the characters was strikingly diverse. Obviously, the distinctive association to Osama, built them defining him a tad bit oppositely.
For Najwa, Osama was the most loving person, serving everything good for the benefit of the family, no matter, how odd it appeared. For Omer, he was a callous, haughty, hector and a cranky always trying to lead people to dance at his fingers.
In the whole book, I couldn’t stop wondering about the docile, bovine character of Najwa Bin Laden, who sacrificed everything just to please her husband. Omer And Najwa, recount the days of the past when they were in Saudia, then to Sudan and eventually ending up in Afghanistan; besides the lifestyle that Osama espoused after Russian war in Afghanistan. (Usually, people associate, an erroneous reality with Osama that how after living an extravagant lifestyle in his young age, he became righteous in his old-age. No, it’s wrong, he was just in his 20s when he joined the Jihad and deserted every luxurious way of life). Strangely, Osama loathed the modernity, except the light of electricity, he would avoid everything that was supposed to facilitate his/their life(s).
Omer also traces some of the notorious terrorists, the training camps, and the shadowy character of Pakistan (they moved back and forth). The account of the meeting between Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omer was specifically engaging and startling. How Mullah Omer was rude and disrespectful to Osama Bin Laden, even refusing to shake hands, let alone sitting beside him.
The rest of the book was inferring the approach of 9/11, how despite the resentment of Mullah Omer (and the fact that Mullah Omer gave him (Osama) one-and-a-half-year to leave Afghanistan). Osama kept pursuing his goal to make America suffer, ending up in 9/11.
After reading the book and the epilogue, I felt really bad for the family of Osama, they shouldn’t have gone through that. I wonder how the decisions of just one person shoved his whole family to the agony of the guillotine. Osama married at least six women, procreating countless children but only Omer and his elder brother refused to live the life of his choice. Not just they had a problematic childhood, but even after leaving their father, they struggled to dissociate themselves from the work of their father. Being the clan of Osama was a cloud that proved to be a gloomy shadow for the rest of their lives.
Before reading the account of the world about Osama, I would suggest you read this book, closely deciphering the complexity of Osama Bin Laden, you would be able to connect the dots later.