This arresting image of the young conformistically Western counter-cultural Osama happily posing in the midst of a family shopping expedition in Sweden completely undermines the authenticity of the older bin Ladin’s self-assumed role of warrior-prophet. The photo demonstrates that Osama bin Lain was never anything but a spoiled, rich and thoroughly Westernized resident of the modern world using old-time cultural stereotypes to glamorize a cynical and calculated program of terrorism aimed at accessing personal political power.
This kind of opportunistic reversion to a deep-in-culture primitive image of leadership is actually a tactic we’ve seen before. The astute Winston Churchill recognized Ghandi as another practitioner of the same kind of fraud.
“It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious middle temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half-naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organizing and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the king-emperor.”
— Winston Churchill, 1930