Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama Bin Laden: Hide and Seek World Champion 2001-2011

Osama Bin Laden was caught and killed while in Pakistan. Conspiracy theories aside, those are the facts. There are questions as to how he was caught, who helped, who didn’t, who drove the car, who hid in the bushes with a whistle, and who pulled the trigger. Who gives a crap? Really. The fact of the matter is, in the court of the global audience, the verdict has been declared: by sheer fact that Osama was within the borders of Pakistan at the time of his death, Pakistan is as guilty as the ‘Waldo’ of the 21st century. Stop complaining. It’s useless. Stop defending. It’s embarrassing. Stop retorting. It’s tiring. It really is. We all need a new song. Desperately.

The incredibly vibrant and free press of Pakistan of course went to task with all sorts of points and opinions. Some celebrated the death and insisted that Pakistan was part of the party. Some pondered over the possibility that some part of the establishment must have been privy to the 6ft. 4inches tall, bearded man’s presence in the country. Some defended against the backlash from the West insisting Pakistani’s have lost more lives than any other nation as a result of this war. And yet, some predicted the beginning of the end and that we might as well all pack our bags and abandon the sinking ship. It was quite a colorful spread of messages in fact. As I breezed through a cross section of all these articles on my way to work, I was struck with the most bizarre of realizations: I couldn’t care less about any of this. Really. In between the notorious Karachi traffic, the five work meetings scheduled for the day, the growing list of toys being demanded by my son, and the depressingly expanding waistline of my stomach, the last thing I was thinking about was how the geo-political impact of this man’s death would impact my life. And as quickly as that thought dawned upon me, another one ran through my head shortly after: this is where all the moderates of Pakistan are. People all over the world have wanted to know where they are. Well, my friends, I have found them. They are busy stuck in the rut of everyday life, just like me. They are complaining about bills, about their breakups, about their workload, their children, and their lovers, just like you and I. Sure, there are a few additional worries on our heads. Will I be blown into oblivion on my way to work, comes to mind instantly. Nonetheless, they are mostly worries that anyone in any part of the world would usually consider. And than I thought, why should I apologize to the world just because this man was found in the same country as me. That connects me with him about as much as Ann Coulter connects with Richard Simmons in the United States.

Pakistan has some serious problems today. The sooner it accepts and confronts this reality, the sooner it can start the path to progress. Does it matter that the international military response to 9/11 pushed Pakistan into a state of implosion? Only if you are a historian. Does it matter that the cause actually became the effect in trying to eliminate terrorism? Only if you are an analyst. The fact of the matter is, a genuinely valid reason for eating dog food doesn’t make dog food taste any better than the dog food that it actually is. Pakistan has to learn that ultimately, the only people who will ever be responsible for getting it out of the state it is in, is Pakistani’s.

Pakistan also needs to be less concerned about its current global image and more worried about its grass root efforts to improve its society as a whole. The best thing about being part of the global village, is that the track record of all is there for everyone to see. There are very few countries who can boast a perfect track record of history, none of them being countries that are in any way connected to this current crisis. Folks, amongst those of us who have less than perfect credentials, we have members who have gone to multiple wars, dropped atomic bombs on bustling cities, forced kingdoms onto weaker nations, used and abused religion for personal gain, traded in souls for oil and gas, and yes, blown up innocent people to instill terror. Who’s the fairest of them all? Does it really matter? Honestly, does it?

We can hate all we want, and we can scream at each other all we want, but sooner or later, we will realize that nothing is more tiring than hatred. It is impossible to constantly hate. I’ve tried it. I have a neighbor from hell that I swore was the disciple of the devil for many years, until recently, he has annoyingly started to actually be good company. Such is life.

I am not going to attempt to claim any stats about what the majority of Pakistani’s feel about the death of Osama Bin Laden. We have multiple media outlets for that. I can only vouch for the people I know, and there is a unanimous sense of utter joy and relief at the news of his death. There is also of course, the ‘tree huggers’ unit out there who believe one should never rejoice at the death of anyone. That doesn’t connect with me. Osama Bin Laden was a murderer and death was his sentence. Fair trial or not, his open incitement of hatred on countless recordings was enough to justify the metal lodged in his head, in my opinion. Pop open the bubbly indeed!

If there is any parting thought that a global citizen of Pakistani persuasion can give on this matter, it’s that the best way out of a jungle is to help the weaker parties. Whether or not those parties were made weak because of internal issues or external ones, life will be much more comfortable for all when we have cleared the jungle. So, rejoice at the great news of the death of such an enemy of humanity, but please think seriously before you find a growing anger towards millions of other people who happen to share the same country code. Death is very uncomfortable for the vast majority of us the world over. It really is quite a party pooper. I hope the thinking minds of the global community understand that we are dramatically more similar than we are different. Except for food. Wow, do we kick your butts in food. To humanity, with love.

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