Friday, May 13, 2011

Osama Bin Laden and Moral Dilemma

Osama Bin Laden and Moral Dilemma
Syed Ali Mujtaba

The catch phrase - “This is who we are” is interesting. This was what the US President Barak Obama thundered when he announced the killing of the most wanted US terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

Why this phrase is interesting because I hared the same catcall after the ill-fated 9/11 episode. Someone discreetly whispered in my ears, it was to demonstrate “this is who we are.”

In the aftermath of the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the lunatic voice of same tone and tenure is doing rounds in certain quarters and I am flabbergasted when this cycle will come to an end.

It’s like a duel between the shield and the arrow, as for every superior shield there are smarter arrows. Both seem to have the resolve of one up against the other. Both seem to be on the right side of the justice, even though they know they are not.

The US policies of unilaterally pursuing its national interest have created havoc ever since the end of the cold war. Its deliberate designs to trample the interest of other nation to serve its own interest have created a lot of bad blood. The vengeance of that hatred was manifest in the 9/11 episode. The pity was it was taken as an act of terrorism,

The shock therapy of 9/11 was to bring the super power to its sense and tone down its arbitrary policies. However, contrary to that reasons, it paved way heightened arrogance and the beginning of the policy to tell the world “this is who we are/”

When I watched the photograph of Obama, Hilary and co, watching the CIA briefing on Operation Geronimo, I was reminded of the movie “Hard Target” (1993).

In that movie a bunch of psychopaths plays the game of head hunters. They feed some malnourished people and make them physically strong. They then organize an event where those folks are to run for their life and in the process those psychopath hunts them down. The psychos then laugh at their laurels each time, till the hero Van Dam, takes those bulls by the horn and give a run for their money.

The killing of Osama Bin Laden looks to me a script of similar to that of “Hard Target.” That bunch of most powerful people on this earth reminded me of those psychopaths of the movie who took sadist pleasure in taking the blood of those running for life, playing the dirty game “This is who we are.”

I am sure, when it might have been announced that “enemy is killed in action” Obama may have done the NBA hero Karim Abdul Jbbar’s act, leaping up few feet from the ground, raising his hand in exclamation shouting “We got him”!

To me, Osama was like, Van Dam who took up the challenge by the scruff and for ten years defied the most powerful nation on the earth equating with the hero of “Hard Target,” eventually to fall to the superior arrow. This however does not mean that arrow has upstaged the shield and the duel has come to rest. It’s an unending fight with no clear cut winner.

It’s a dirty game based on lies, cunningness, hatred and deceit. The most ironical part is there seems to be a conspiracy of silence among the nations of the world and none has the moral courage to say to stop this madness.

There are few exceptions. Former Cuban President Fidel Castro criticized the way the United States carried out the raid against Osama bin Laden. He said the U.S. raid in Pakistan violated that country's laws and offended its dignity.

In India, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M. Karunanidhi said the path taken by Osama bin Laden cannot be termed as ‘Islamic terrorism.’ He argued that just because bin Laden took to terrorism to achieve his goal, it cannot be called Islamic terrorism. Anger against any person cannot be justified in the form of terrorism, he wrote.

However, these are fringe voices and by and large the community of nations has condoned the acts of the US and it acts that it has skirted under the war against terror.

It’s only China that criticized the United States for violating' Pakistan's sovereignty by carrying out a military operation to kill Osama bin Laden saying “China holds that the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of any country should be respected.”

There are no two opinions that terrorism in any form has to be opposed tooth and nail but then this does not mean that those who become the cause of terrorism should be condoned.

The moral dilemma in case of Osama Bin Laden is he was considered to be terrorist, a threat to global peace, but then the greater terrorism perpetrated by the US and that has killed hundreds of thousands in pursuit of its national policy is considered moral and lawful. How can this be accepted unless we agree to the dictum “might is right” and if we do not then this moral dilemma may persist and persons like Osama Bin Laden may become a source of inspiration.

There cannot be global peace unless we resolve such moral dilemma. It is high time that the voices of sanity may take center stage and have the moral courage to speak “This is who we are not.”

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

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