A Political Tactical Tradition in the East
History, Mohandas Gandhi, Orientalism, Osama bin Laden, Osama bin Ladin, Winston Churchill
Young Osama bin Ladin (second from the right, in blue bell bottoms) vacationing with his family in Sweden in the early 1970s.
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