Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bin Laden Depicted as "an Arab Clint Eastwood" and "a Muslim Robin Hood" Who Met His End at His "Fort Apache" Compound

Following Plantu's cartoon of Osama Bin Laden as the hapless victim of a brutal execution, you will be happy to learn that France's premier daily devotes 2/5 of an entire page in the daily to a conspiracy monger who calls the execution of Bin Laden "a perfect crime" (the title of Christian Salmon's column in Le Monde). (The rest of the page is devoted to an odd cartoon as well as to a piece by Adam Thirlwell praising Che Guevara's influence on the Arab Spring revolts…)

While his criticism of the White House's incompetence regarding the narrative of the Abbottabad operation has much to commend it, Christian Salmon suggests it is reminiscent of the odd "official version of the [2001] attack on the World Trade Center" (sigh), invokes the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard, and goes on to refer to Bin Laden as "an Arab Clint Eastwood" and "a Muslim Robin Hood" who "claims to be avenging the suffering of the Palestinian people". The founder of the Parlement international des Écrivains (International Parliament of Writers or IPW) then serves us the old canard of moral relativism that America's enemy and America itself are equally at fault.

Drawing his imagery from Hollywood films, and — explicitly — from Hollywood westerns, CNRS member Salmon claims the terrorism script was indeed written by the Al Qaeda honcho but with the help of the United States. Bin Laden is a "solitary hero", we learn, one "who appears and disappears at will," "defying the world's superpower" in the process. "Geronimo" was finally bagged, it seems (didn't Salmon just put the White House's entire story in doubt?!), during the final attack on his "Fort Apache" compound in Abbottabad.

The Al Qaeda leader represents "the figure of the vigilante" who "draws on the stereotypes of the Hollywood western, a legend or a myth that Bin Laden could never have created without the help of the United States, who participated in the production, in the staging, and in the broadcasting of the legend."

(To their credit, a number of Le Monde readers mention mental masturbation and/or wonder what fishy stuff Salmon has been smoking…)
Depuis le 11-Septembre, Ben Laden incarne ce héros solitaire, qui apparaît et disparaît à sa guise, narguant la plus grande puissance mondiale, un Clint Eastwood arabe, un Robin des bois musulman qui prétend venger les souffrances du peuple palestinien. C'est la figure du justicier qui puise aux stéréotypes du western hollywoodien, une légende ou un mythe que Ben Laden n'aurait jamais pu créer sans l'aide des Etats-Unis, qui ont participé à la production, à la mise en scène et à la diffusion de cette légende ; de George W. Bush, lançant la traque de Ben Laden par un avis de recherche "mort ou vif" comme dans les westerns, jusqu'au choix malheureux du nom de code de l'opération, "Geronimo", pour désigner la charge finale contre le fort Apache de Ben Laden, le compound d'Abbottabad.