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Osama: Truth's out of reach

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Osama: Truth's out of reach

Andrew Ryan

It suddenly erupted on the news this week that Osama Bin Laden was killed in a raid by American forces. Social networking websites were (and still are) awash with cries of “WE GOT THE BASTARD” and “THE WORLD IS SAFE ONCE AGAIN” etc, although generally with more expletives, abbreviations, exclamation marks and spelling mistakes. These people believe that he was the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks on America, that he controlled the planes that flew into the buildings, and is in charge of that group of angry Muslims who hate freedom and make videos of themselves with guns. That is what mass media has told us, so that is what they know to be true.

And fair enough- believing what you’re told is comforting and easy. But having a mind like a hyperactive 2 year old like I do- Why? Why? Look what I made! LOOK AT ME. Who is that? What does that mean?- doesn’t allow me to accept the words coming from the mouths of people inside a television, people who wear lots of make-up and discuss celebrity gossip with more passion and understanding than they show when hundreds of people are killed in a city they can barely pronounce the name of.

I am not well informed about politics, but I believe I have a good understanding of what drives human beings, what keeps them from dying and what drives them to suicide. I know that human beings are all connected to each other through ancestry, emotion, chemistry and the capacity to share complex ideas, and I also know that I could never REALLY know what is true and what is false in the world unless I see it with my own two eyes, which is why I am left feeling so… underwhelmed by the news of Bin Laden’s death.

A friend of mine overheard a conversation today, which she then posted on Facebook. ‘There’s a couple of old ladies next to me saying that Osama’s death is faked, “just like the landing on the moon”, but that it has the same effect on the world in any case and they think it’s been handled “beautifully”.’ I suppose I agree with the sentiment- the killing of the ultimate villain has brought the world (America) together in a way that solidifies unity amongst like minded folk, hope in the future and faith in President Obama, and yet I am somewhat disturbed by the thought, because while it has been drummed in to us for more than 10 years now that this man is the epitome of evil, the arch nemesis of all that is good in the world (American Capitalism and Democracy), it has also been reported by reputable sources that Al-Qaeda was a ruse, that the guy who testified in court against the “organization” was paid fuck loads of money to say the things he did, because they benefitted the plans of the Bush administration watch the documentary . If Al-Qaeda isn’t real, then is Osama Bin Laden real? If he was real, how can he be the head of something that isn’t real? Were the September 11 attacks real, and if they were, then how can they have been masterminded by an organization that never existed in the first place? If the fictitious group didn’t blow up American buildings, then who the fuck did? Cue the 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Do you see the dilemma? I, like many others, want to know why, and how, but the more we go searching for truth, the more aware we become that anyone could be lying, or everyone, that living in a society so obsessed with economic, material and power gain like this one promotes a selfish attitude, and humans can be so greedy and untrustworthy, and there are even a whole hoard of people who just want to be famous because we’re conditioned to see fame as important, so they will say or do anything to get attention, even if the lies they tell are dangerous. It hurts my naïve brain when I consider all the variables, all the unknown conversations and events that lead to paradigm shifts which shape our understanding of the world we live in, most of them hidden or manipulated to be more profitable.

Take the timing of this “assassination” for example. Wikileaks cables have been ruling the headlines for months and months and months. Middle Eastern countries have been going balls out with their revolutions as a result, and America was looking pretty dodgy for all kinds of reasons. Natural disasters are fucking over every continent, humanity just got a higher chance of getting cancer thanks to some major oversights in the upkeep of certain nuclear reactors in Japan (oversights in nuclear power in general while we’re at it) and those amongst us who fear for the health of the planet are recognising the signs of the end of days…

But then, relief: the British Royal wedding. Days of broadcasts about the plans and the guests and the dress and the honeymoon act like the water-skiing chipmunk to the months of upset. And then, as the world dries the tears of joy from their eyes, morepeoplearekilledbytheirowngovernmentsintheMiddleEast and OSAMA BIN LADEN HAS FINALLY BEEN KILLED BY THE ALL POWERFUL AMERICANS!!!!! I assume that the average person was just starting to make the connection that Islamic people are people with emotions and families just like them thanks to the dedicated journalists in the Middle East, and it’s just as easy to assume that that connection has been severed by the reminder of the American hating villains who supposedly killed their countrymen. And the 2012 American election campaigns have started too. How convenient guys.

Perhaps I am currently suffering from one of the common existentialist bursts of depression that come with the creative person’s need to find meaning in the world, but it doesn’t change that fact that at present, I am finding nothing to be mentally satisfying, especially not in the world’s reaction the last week of news. My own distrust of media coverage is mirrored by many, but we can do nothing except piss off our Facebook friends, and maybe blog about it. Intelligent, curious and observant people the world over are faced again with this bullshit- I don’t trust my government, I don’t trust the intentions of those in charge, I am occasionally kept awake at night with the fear that my mind has been manipulated beyond repair to adhere to government control, but life has to go on because I have rent to pay and a body to nourish and an orgasm to have and it just keeps going on and on and on and on.