Sympathy for the Devil

May 4th, 2011 | By | Category: Conspiracy Theories, Dawn, Geo TV, Jang, The News

Hamid Mir with Osama bin Laden

In 2001, Osama bin Laden, by his own admission, masterminded the 9/11 attacks which killed 3,000 innocent people including dozens of innocent Muslims. This was not the first mass murder of innocents masterminded by bin Laden, nor would it be the last. His plan to draw the Americans into a protracted war like they did the Soviets in the 1980s has resulted in the deaths of countless innocent people. Early Monday morning the American President Barack Obama announced from the White House that this mastermind of death was killed in a hideout in Abbottabad.

The top editorial in Dawn describes Osama bin Laden’s path of destruction quite well.

HE is dead, and his demise marks the end of an era. America has finally killed the man whose pursuit had consumed the country for almost a decade, an extremist who inspired even more violence than he himself perpetuated. In many ways 9/11, Osama bin Laden`s signature attack, has come to define the last 10 years. It has shaped US foreign policy to a greater degree than any other development of the decade and led to two major wars, one of which continues today. It has resulted in gross violations of human rights in the name of the `war on terror`. It has transformed Pakistan and Afghanistan, dragging them into ideological divides and violence. The latter has claimed many more thousands of lives than were lost on 9/11. All of this can be traced, directly or through those inspired by him, to Osama bin Laden, a former jihadi fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan who later decided that American interference in the Muslim world justified indiscriminate violence against the US and those Muslim nations cooperating with it.

But a different portrait of this man is being painted in other parts of the media. Top personalities at media giant Jang Group are channeling jihadi talking points and painting a picture of bin Laden as a martyr who died fighting against terrorism.

Writing in The News, Ansar Abbasi writes

If Osama was considered a terrorist by the Pakistani government just because of being convinced by Washington’s propaganda, then why was not he apprehended by our own forces? He should have been tried and sentenced here if he was doing anything in violation of the law of the land.

Osama was branded a terrorist by the US after his alleged involvement in the 9/11 attack, which resulted in the killing of a few thousand innocent Americans. So, the principle is that those who kill innocents are terrorists. Therefore, if Osama was a terrorist for his alleged involvement in the 9/11 episode, then following the same principle why the US, which is responsible for killing more than a million innocent Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, is not termed a terrorist state?

Despite the statements taking credit for 9/11 by Osama bin Laden himself, Ansar Abbasi uses terms like “alleged involvement” and “Washington’s propaganda” to suggest that bin Laden was falsely accused. This should not come as a surprise, though, as the same Ansar Abbasi on Capital Talk said,

“Aik toh pehli baat mei yeh kahoonga , Amreeka jisko terrorist kehti hia mei usko terrorist nahi manta. Agar terrorist maasoomon ko marnay
ka principle hai toh sab say ye pichli aik century mei sab say zyada masoomon ko amreeka nay mara hai”

(“Whoever America calls a terrorist, I do not call them one. If killing innocents is a trait by terrorists then in the last whole century the maximum number of innocents killed was by America.”)

Additional praise and sympathy for Osama bin Laden came from Hamid Mir who wrote a long eulogy for The Osama bin Laden I knew.

I was lucky to meet him for the third time on the morning of November 8, 2001. I was the first and the last journalist to interview him after 9/11. Intense bombing was going on inside and outside the city of Kabul. He welcomed me with a smile on his face and said: “I told you last time that the enemy can kill me but they cannot capture me alive, I am still alive”. After the interview, he again said: “Mark my words, Hamid Mir, they can kill me anytime but they cannot capture me alive; they can claim victory only if they get me alive but if they will just capture my dead body, it will be a defeat, the war against Americans will not be over even after my death, I will fight till the last bullet in my gun, martyrdom is my biggest dream and my martyrdom will create more Osama bin Ladens”.

Osama fulfilled his promise. He never surrendered.

While describing Osama bin Laden as a hero, Hamid Mir repeatedly terms the US as “the enemy”.

According to my knowledge, he escaped death at least four times after 9/11.At times, he dodged the world’s most sophisticated satellite systems and dangerous missiles by his own cleverness, and at others, it was his sheer luck that saved him from enemy strikes with only minutes to spare.

Osama bin Laden wanted to fight on the frontline, but his colleagues stopped him. Heated arguments were exchanged. Bin Laden was angry, but Abu Hamza Al Jazeeri convinced him to escape. They placed many rockets with timers, aimed at two different directions, as a deception. They decided to break the enemy encirclement, heading in the third direction with a group of foot fighters.

The al-Qaeda sources claimed that he does not believe in suicide, it is easier for him to sacrifice his life in the battle against the enemy till the last bullet and the last drop of his blood.

These description of Osama, a foreign terrorist (despite what his defenders at Jang Group are saying), stands in stark contrast to the media treatment of the treatment of another death earlier this year when a Pakistani man known for his tolerance and defense of innocents. I am of course referring to Salmaan Taseer.

Recent surveys have decisively shown that Osama bin Laden was discredited and largely disliked across the world and especially in Pakistan. Therefore the question must be asked: If support for bin Laden has fallen to below 18 per cent, who are these journalists speaking for? It’s clearly not Pakistan.

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