Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Let us forget and remember - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Bin Laden is dead, and now people have begun speculating about the manner in which he was killed, and when this incident actually occurred. Such people are keen to see a picture proving his death, as they refute the official account of the US administration, stating that he died when US Special Forces invaded his compound.

What is more important here is to be aware that everything has an expiry date, which begins to tick down from the moment it is created, then marketed, until the product matures and gradually deteriorates. This was what has happened with al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. The organization has become “exhausted”, and so its shelf life has ended in the political market. Another commodity is now becoming more popular and acceptable, namely youth-led revolutions. It is a product that has been welcomed by various categories of people, and has achieved unparalleled initial success, because unlike the ideology of al-Qaeda and similar organizations, who promote violence and blood as a means of change and reform, this new product advocates non-violent peaceful protest as an alternative mechanism.

When Malek Bennabi, Jawdat Said, and Khalas Jalabi first promoted the idea of non-violent protest, presented it as a new thought, and consolidated it juristically in an ethical manner, they were condemned and labeled as atheists or immoral, such is the habit of extremists to attack anyone who challenges their intellectual dogma. The current non-violent protests in Syria and Yemen have helped to cement the idea that peaceful change is effective. This approach could even prove useful in the campaign against Zionism, if such demonstrations take place within the state of Israel itself.

Al-Qaeda generated extremism, reinforced hard-line orientations, and caused sedition and terror among Muslims, who became “guilty until proven innocent”, both in their own eyes and in the eyes of others.

I recall an amusing incident that occurred to a friend of mine, a businessman working in the field of contracting. Whilst on a medical trip to the United States, he called his company in Saudi Arabia to see how things were going. He inquired about the work flow from his accountant who answered him that “All projects are underway, but we are having problems with “Bin Laden” regarding “Al-Qaeda” project.” The accountant was referring to the giant Bin Laden Construction Company. My friend had a subcontracting supply project with Bin Laden’s Company, in order to carry out construction work at a naval base [al-Qaeda meaning “the base” in Arabic]! Of course my friend was beset by severe stomach pains and a nervous fit, on account of what his accountant had said over the phone. My friend sweated profusely for three days, worrying extensively about the possible consequences of someone wrongly interpreting the phone call, if they had been tapping it. This is an example of how Muslims have been living in fear been living on all levels [as a result of al-Qaeda].

Perhaps one of the key reasons for the resounding decline of al-Qaeda as a terror organization is the depletion of available funding sources. Al-Qaeda was always looking for money! The money, the donations, and the sense of identification, which had pumped blood into the veins of this terrorist organization, all came to a halt. This made it much harder for al-Qaeda to go on recruiting young people, buying arms, launching websites, spreading propaganda, and providing all forms of services.

Today Muslims must carefully consider models that benefit their lives, and adopt those patterns of thought which have proven effective over the years, and gained popular appeal. We should not focus on or follow deviants who have proven harmful and false in their words and deeds.

The picture people are looking for as evidence of Bin Laden’s death is not the core of the story here. The core of the story is the words, actions, positions and views that have created sedition, bloodshed, rifts and broken nations. Let us bury “Al-Qaeda” along with its founder. Let us pour the sand of oblivion on al-Qaeda’s grave, and move forward. We have been consumed by al-Qaeda and its cause for many years and have paid a hefty price for that. Let us hope that the death of Bin Laden, his pictures, and the circumstances surrounding his killing, won’t make much of a difference, and won’t hold us back for years to come at the expense of more important and beneficial issues. Forget about Bin Laden and remember Bouazizi.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

More Posts