Humanizing the Enemy

I am grateful for something else: that Bin Laden has been humanized. He thought he carried the Prophet’s message and was able, through a charisma pornographic in its worship of death, to channel an immense Muslim frustration. In taking on America, and staging his own mega-production one September day, he turned himself into myth.

Yet, here he is, hunched, gray-bearded, channel surfing with his remote in search of images of himself. And here he is, with his beard dyed black, betraying the very vanity of the black-haired Arab gerontocracy he professed to loath. Bin Laden is very human here — in his boredom, his ego, his foibles and his weariness.

That is an important reminder. Bin Laden was not the devil. He was a human being. What happened to him, this gentle-eyed killer, can happen: His transformation into a demon is banal. That is why all of our collective vigilance is needed.

Not sure I agree with the conclusion, that we must remain vigilant. For, what? Every priveleged Oil Son who had, at one point, a cute youthful face? Or maybe the legion poor, uneducated brown people constantly taking the shit end of our foreign policy? Nevertheless, a vain, pot-growing, beard-dying megalomaniac says something disconcerting about the being human.



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