A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, May 2, 2011

Anticlimax: Bin Laden Had Already Lost Control of the Narrative

On slightly further reflection, I think there's an irony in Bin Laden dying at this exact moment; while some of his followers will consider him a martyr, he had lost control of the narrative in the Middle East. (As have we, of course.) The revolutionary youth of Tunisia, of Egypt, of Yemen, of Syria, of Bahrain, of Libya, have launched revolutions that have little to do with Islamism, little to do, even, with anti-Americanism, but everything to do with freeing their own lives.

Bin Laden was an anachronism. So I suspect is Al-Qa‘ida and its franchises.

I'm sure some in the Middle East will be offended by the triumphalism of many Americans at the news, but I suspect not a few Middle Eastern leaders are celebrating quietly as well.

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