Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Bin Laden: What does it mean for me?

Unlike most of those I've seen interviewed in the masses of TV coverage about the end of Osama Bin Laden, I have no interest to declare. I'm not a politician, diplomat, security service or military worker and haven't been chasing him for ten years. I'm not a Muslim, or any other religion for that matter. No one I know has been killed or lost a loved one in 9/11, 7/7, Afghanistan, Madrid, or any other of Al Qaeda's atrocities.

I've followed the story with interest and enjoyed much of the coverage. Bin Laden got what he deserved, although I feel a little disturbed by the Americans I've seen celebrating as though they've won the Superbowl and the World Series on the same day. But this seems to have been a pretty flawless performance all-round by those actually involved in the killing - from the special agents who performed the execution, to Obama's decision-making, to the PR activity which followed.

Much is yet to be decided about how this all ends, in relation to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Al Qaeda, et al. But the one thing I really want to know is the thing that nobody can tell me with any certainty. Am I more or less safe as I go about my suburban family life? Does this make any difference to the morale, motivation, or strength (or reported weakening of it) of Al Qaeda?

Or is this a political, military and popular catharsis which doesn't really make much difference to us in the long run?

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