Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Good bye OBL

Conspiracy theories aside, OBL is dead now. A chapter closed in history of the world. Keeping indifference to his good qualities or bad characteristics, he was the one who remained America’s most wanted person for nearly a decade. Perhaps the biggest operation in history of the world was carried out for his hunt. And more than that, thousands of people were killed, virtually thousands of innocent people, accounting for his deeds. Some dies in collateral damage in pursuit to get him, others killed by his fellows because they seemed to have deviated from the right path. Both categories include men women and children.
People of Abbotabad found it funny to come to know that world’s most wanted man was living just on their doorstep. Some might have regretted not to have attempted to capture him as he carried biggest head bounty in the recent times. Others remained indifferent as public in our country is custom made not to believe what is told in official statements. Although it has been running on the news channels across the world, very few people in Pakistan believed on the truthfulness of the fine details made public. Many think he must have been captured elsewhere some other time and this drama was tailored in order to maximize benefit from this happening of extraordinary caliber, like winning next US presidential elections, getting an excuse to withdraw forces from Afghanistan etc. But as I said in the beginning, let us put the conspiracy theories aside at the moment. One thing is for sure. OBL is dead now.
His rise to fame amongst Muslim ummah was understandable. Dispersed and humiliated under a fleet of autocrat corrupt regimes, Muslims around the world were looking for a leader. The quest was so long and severe that an ideal leader started being imagined as a superhuman being. They awaited someone who could turn the tide in their favor, liberate their lands from foreign occupation and re-establish their respect in the comity of nations. Unfortunately, most of the times this desire was more like a fantasy. I say this because very little number of movements took course of political changes, human rights, education and science and technology. Mostly, the attitudes remained impractical and fantastical, waiting for charismas to happen. The fact remains there that if you are left behind in education and building of institutions, you have to improve your level of education and build institutions at a faster pace in order to maintain your existence. There are no short cuts at this level.
To me, the summary of his lifetime efforts to serve religion is that he played havoc with the same instead of serving it. Countries and societies suffered as a whole when his personal violent ideas spread among masses. Religious intolerance and sectarian bloodshed in Pakistan can very well be attributed to the ideas he financed. But did all this serve the religion or ummah? This is a solid reality that image of Islam has become that of a violent and intolerant religion all over the world. Insecurity and humiliation are order of the day for Muslims globally. It is widely believed that although all Muslims are not terrorists, all terrorists are Muslims indeed. Apart from radicalizing a large segment of Muslims around the world, he didn’t serve any purpose. And that even is more than controversial if we call it an achievement.
When seen in the context of Sayyid Qutb’s ideas of reforming societies, what OBL did becomes understandable. Unfortunately one’s personal belief of being on the right path and declaring all others as infidels doesn’t practically make it a fruitful strategy. Irony is that even his death doesn’t necessarily mean that this thinking will be changed. If it persisted after the execution of the father of this thought, it will definitely exist after losing a sponsor.  It will further radicalize the groups under his influence. His legacy will take a lot of time to fade. And that can only happen if large segments of Muslims realize that the path he took was not the best among available ones.
So, does it end here? NO. Neither America nor the militants will give up. Strategic benefits wouldn’t allow USA to give up the bloodshed and it will continue to feed the extremist ideology for decades to come. I wish OBL would have taken a path of scientific progress for people. I wish he would have been practical in approach, that there are no short cuts in becoming a great nation. I wish he would have planned for a thousand peaceful years to bring the change he wanted instead of trying to impose it in a couple of decades. But all this is just fantasy, just like wishing that his termination should bring an end to the bloodbath in my country. It is just like wishing that USA should stop killing innocent people and let them get back to norms and tolerance. I know it is useless but I still wish there should be wars against disabilities and diseases and not against nations and countries.