Osama’s Other Legacy: Conspiracy BuffsMay 3, 2011
Osama Bin Ladin is credited with being the mastermind behind 9/11. But he
should also be given credit for giving birth to a world of conspiracy theory masterminds. Whether you believe Osama bin Ladin was indeed the brains of 9/11 or not (I live in the Middle East, remember), whether you are conservative or liberal, American, Arab, or any other identifier, you have a theory on 9/11 and a now a theory on his death.
Timing, death tolls, targets, presidential elections, presidential dictators, and even scientific experimentation have been elements of conspiracy theories that seem to have become an individual right to self-expression when it comes to Osama bin Ladin–although whispered self-expression, in true conspiracy style.
I was in multicultural LA during 9/11. While I remember the fear and the heavy strides in everyone’s walk and the furrowed foreheads in the days following 9/11 with still stomach churning clarity—and still am haunted by the stories of my friends who were there on that day and the price so many people have paid ever since in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and US military families– I also remember the conspiracy theories. None of them have gone away, they have just expanded and multiplied, turning most of us in conspiracy buffs.
In the multicultural Abu Dhabi yesterday, I heard conspiracy plots from Americans, Australians, Europeans, Indians, and Arabs of all socio economic strata. Only once did I hear anyone say, “The U.S. took a long time to find him but now it did and it killed him. And that’s that.” That’s that? That’s all you got, dude? And then there it was, a few seconds later. He was off on a tangent about the conspiracy of conspiracy theories about US powers.
I think we prefer our theories on 9/11 because they are the way explain something that simple facts—19 people drove airplanes into the World Trade Center and killed thousands of innocent people–seem to defy human behavior, no matter your political or religious beliefs.
I have my own theories, too, of course. But I’m not going to share them because it doesn’t matter what I think. Osama bin Ladin was already a part of the past before he became officially dead yesterday. He was the past because the Middle East buried his ideas and power over the people a while ago—even when Qaddafi blamed Al Qaeda for stirring up trouble in Libya, it didn’t cause a ripple of interest, even felt dated, as if Qaddafi was the one hiding out in a cave. The people have finally spoken in the Middle East and none of them are holding up posters of Osama bin Ladin.