The monster is dead, but not defeated

As a youngster, I loved horror movies because after some terror and fright, the monster or villain was always punished and killed. The twist at the end is that the monster is not really dead, but will return to terrorise in the future. Osama Bin Laden was such a villain, except his crimes were real, his terror was shocking and we in this region were the first victims of his dastardly attacks when he bombed US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

As a youngster, I loved horror movies because after some terror and fright, the monster or villain was always punished and killed. The twist at the end is that the monster is not really dead, but will return to terrorise in the future.

Osama Bin Laden was such a villain, except his crimes were real, his terror was shocking and we in this region were the first victims of his dastardly attacks when he bombed US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

 Most victims were ordinary Africans queuing for visa applications but got caught up in a war that had nothing to do with them.

Bin Laden, the man died on Monday, but Bin Laden the idea died in the mass protests for democracy we have seen in the “Arab Spring” over the last few months.

At no point have protesters asked for stricter versions of Islam, and yet we were told that the Arab world is just a riot away from a full Islamic Caliphate.

There is a risk that it could all go wrong, if the current revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and Syria fail or succeed too fast, then it leaves the door open for Al-Qaeda to return.

The thing is that Bin Laden was as much a symptom of the problem as he was a problem.

He was a product of Globalisation, he was born in a wealthy Saudi family of Yemeni descent, travelled and studied widely. It is what happens when two worlds collide in the mind of a young person, contrary ideas cohabit in your brain and you have to choose.

Even when Bin Laden rejected Westernisation, he kept the tools of a globalised network, and that network is still alive. He created a model that has been localised and translated to many parts of the globe.

Our regional strain of this virus is the Al-Shabab movement in Somalia.

They were responsible for killing over 70 people in Kampala during the world cup final last year. Somalia is Africa’s Afghanistan, a failed state that incubates future terror groups, hopefully USA will now shift its focus to this region.

The sad irony is that if we were dealing with Mohammed  Mbarushimana, or Abdul Murwanashyaka, or if the FDLR was made of people with Islamic names, we would have had a different scenario.

The FDLR has directly killed and terrorised millions of people in Eastern Congo and yet they are still doing so under the noses of UN.

Barack Obama must take heart in this coup, and he should pick his next target well. However, the Libyan crisis is turning into a messy quagmire. In South America there are Narco-rebels who thrive on cocaine sales.

In Africa, it is mineral-rebels with no ideological base but the tools of terror.

The whole world seemed to rejoice yesterday, a great villain is dead but his deadly disciples are still lurking, waiting to strike. Osama Bin Laden shows that in the annals of history, fame and infamy are the same. We will always talk about him and his infamous crimes. 

ramaisibo@hotmail.com

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