Obama and Osama triumph: A Win-Win Outcome

Michael Roberts, 2 May 2011

Both Obama and Osama are happy.

Obama speaks to the world — Pic by Rex Features

The killing of Osama bin Laden is a major triumph for President Obama and USA. It is a momentous symbolic victory. “Yes We Can” has been confirmed and underlined. It will boost Obama’s re-election chances immeasurably. The triumphalism displayed on the streets and in media outlets in the USA reveals the depths of patriotism as well as the hostility to extreme Muslim fundamentalism. Parenthetically and laconically one can note that there is no question of a war crimes charge being raised by Ban Ki Moon Incorporated against the US special forces responsible for the collateral killing of Osama’s “civilian” son and other civilians who may have died in the assault. The story of this commando strike is pictured as an “act of justice” not as an “outrage.”

This victory for Obama is also a victory for Osama. Having trod the path of mujahid in the path to Allah, he is now a shaheed at the feet of Allah. He is not fused with transcendental forces in the fashion secured by Tamil heroes/heroines past and present or Japanese kamikaze in wars past, but sits distinct as monad OSAMA bound in devotion to Allah.

He is thus immortal and his kinfolk will be mighty pleased by this sacrificial outcome – a perspective and philosophy which the vast majority of the people in the individuated West will never grasp.

This victory of the shaheed Osama will also generate repercussions and ramifications. There will be acts of vendetta directed at USA, Americans and the West in general. The Salafi ideology will receive a boost and the failed Al Qaida objectives of overthrowing “the near enemy” and hurting “the far enemy” will receive another burst of energy as new buds spring forth in the form of Islamic youth — in the West, Middle East, Indian subcontinent, everywhere — attracted to the cause.

Salafi thinking is rhizomic (Handelman 2011) and does not require an Al Qaida fountainhead.

So, this fourth World War will simmer for decades to come.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 BBC 1991 “Suicide Killers,” in Inside Story Documentary Series, late 1991

Benjamin, D and S. Simon 2003 The Age of Sacred Terror. Radical Islam’s War against Terror,New York: Random House..

Bloom, Mia 2005 Dying to kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror,New York:Columbia University Press.

Bowker, John 1991 The Meanings of Death,Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity Press.

Cook, David 2004 “The Implications of Martyrdom Operations for Contemporary Islam,” Journal of Religious Ethics 23:129-51.

Cook, David 2005 Understanding Jihad, Berkeley:University ofCalifornia Press.

De Votta, Neil 2004 Blowback. Linguistic Nationalism, Institutional Decay and Ethnic Conflict inSri Lanka, Stanford:StanfordUniversity Press.

Euben, Roxanne 1999 Enemy in the mirror,Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Handelman, Don 2011 “Self-Exploders, Self-Sacrifice, and the Rhizomic Organization of Terrorism,” in Galina Lindquist & Don Handelman (eds.) Religion, Politics and Globalization. Anthropological Approaches, Berghan Books, chapter 10.

Hudson, Dennis 1990 “Violent and Fanatical Devotion among the Nayanars: A Study in the Periya  Purānam of Cēkkilār,” in Alf Hiltebeitel (ed.) Criminal Gods and Demon Devotees,Delhi: Manohar,  pp. 375-405.

Koenigsberg, Richard A. 2009 Nations have the Right to Kill. Hitler, the Holocaust and War,  New York: Library of Social Science.

Laidlaw, James  2005 “A Life Worth Leaving: Fasting to Death as Telos of a Jain Religious Life,” Economics and Society 34: 178-99.

Nalankilli, Thanjali 2004 “Burnt Offerings against Hindi Imposition: Self Immolation of Tamil Martyrs in Tamil Nadu, 1965,” Tamil Tribune, January 2004,  http://www.geocities.com tamil tribune /04/0101.html.

Natali, Christiana 2008 “Building Cemeteries, Constructing Identities: Funerary Practices and Nationalist Discourse among the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka,” Contemporary South Asia 16: 287- 301.

Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko 2002 Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms: the Militarization of Aesthetics in Japanese History, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko 2006 Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Student Soldiers, Chicago:University ofChicago Press.

Roberts, Michael 2005a “Tamil Tiger ‘Martyrs’: Regenerating Divine Potency?” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 28: 493-514.

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Roberts, Michael 2006a “Pragmatic Action and Enchanted Worlds: A Black Tiger Rite of Commemoration,” Social Analysis 50: 73-102.

Roberts, Michael 2006b “The Tamil Movement for Eelam,” E-Bulletin of the International Sociological Association No. 4, July 2006, pp. 12-24

Roberts, Michael 2007a “Suicide Missions as Witnessing: Expansions, Contrasts,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 30: 857-88.

Roberts, Michael 2010a “Sacrificial Devotion in Comparative Focus: Kamikaze, Mujahid, Tiger,” in Roberts, Fire and Storm, Essays in Sri Lankan Politics,Colombo: Vijtha Yapa Publications, pp. 131-38.

Roberts, Michael 2010b ‘Suicide for Political Cause,” in Roberts, Fire and Storm, Essays in Sri Lankan Politics,Colombo: Vijtha Yapa Publications, pp. 219-38.

Roberts, Michael & Arthur Saniotis 2006 “Empowering the Body and Noble Death” for Social Analysis  Spring 2006 50: 7-24.

Sabaratnam, Lakshmanan 2001 Ethnic Attachments in Sri Lanka: Social Change and Cultural Continuity, London: Palgrave.

Sax, William Bo 1992 “Pilgrimage Unto Death,” in James Veitch (ed) To Strive And Not To Yield. Essays in Honour of Colin Brown,VictoriaUniversity ofWellington, pp. 200-12.

Schalk, Peter 1997a “Resistance and Martyrdom in the Process of State Formation of Tamililam,” in Joyce Pettigrew (ed.) Martyrdom and Political Resistance,Amsterdam: VU University Press pp. 61- 84.

Sluka, Jeffrey A.  1997 “From Graves to Nations: Political Martyrdom and Irish Nationalism,” in J.  Pettigrew, (ed.) Martyrdom and Political Resistance,Amsterdam: VU University Press, pp. 35-60.

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6 Comments

Filed under cultural transmission, life stories, LTTE, suicide bombing, terrorism, unusual people, world events & processes

6 responses to “Obama and Osama triumph: A Win-Win Outcome

  1. Ernest Macintyre

    Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was buried at sea from the deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the north Arabian Sea after being washed according to Islamic custom and receiving a religious funeral, a U.S. defense official said on Monday.
    “Preparations for at-sea burial began at 1:10 a.m. EST and were completed at 2 a.m. EST,” the official said. “Traditional procedures for Islamic burial were followed.”

    “The deceased’s body was washed and then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag. a military officer read prepared religious remarks which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was place on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased’s body eased into the sea,” the official said.

    From the play IRANGANI

    “…Corpses can’t be illegal rebels ! Corpses have passed beyond legal and political classification ! I came across a story about ancient Greece, where the burial of a brother’s body became a sacred matter. An ancient sacred matter. And nothing has changed over about two thousand five hundred years. The government of Israel recently released a large number of live dangerous prisoners from Lebanon in exchange for the bodies of just two of its soldiers. Only two dead soldiers! So that they could be returned to their families for sacred burial.
    The President contemplates, a moment
    President: Shanthi de Almeida was a young woman who read the news on the instructions of the minister of broadcasting. She was taken by your people to the beach, raped and killed. Her body lay there. One of many hundred of cases. Your insurgents, your terrorists, have they returned bodies of those they brutally killed, to their families?
    Irangani: I bleed inside from wounds like that.Do you, for the wounds that you have inflicted ?
    President: I bleed, even though my inflictions are legal
    Irangani: Yes You are the legal state. And you shamefully equate the rebels with your legalized omnipotent god power on earth ? Some people believe in the existence of God, others don’t know or don’t believe, but nobody today does not believe in the omnipotent existence of the State. Your responsibility for man while on earth, alive or in left over holy body, is sacred! The obligation even of Caesar is equally, to render unto his people! You can’t disgracefully hide behind what rebels have done. THAT IS A FALSE EQUATION! ”
    She bends her head in silence, as her thoughts shift to the body of her brother, now back in Homagama, with the bodies of all the other dead youth.

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