(Swans - May 23, 2011)
Hello, yes. Who is calling?
Hello. Femi, wake up, are you still asleep?
Yes, can't you see what time it is? Why shouldn't I be asleep?
Ah, my friend, get up. How can you sleep at a time like this?
What happened, what time like this are we talking about?
You can't be serious, Femi. Don't tell me you can sleep at a momentous, historic time like this. I am dying of pure excitement. I could die now and go straight to heaven and feel very fulfilled. Femi, this is too good to be true. What! Don't tell me that you've not heard the good tiding?
Don't tell me that you woke me up to peddle your version of piety. Let me get back to my sleep. Some of us have to earn our daily bread.
Come on, man. Turn your TV on and see and hear the glorious news.
What, Jesus came back?
Don't be blasphemous, my friend. They got him!
Whom did they get? Who got whom?
Turn on the TV, Femi, and stop asking silly questions. CNN, BBC, FOX, al-Jazeera, Deutche Welle, France, China, Ghana, Burkina Faso, every television station in the world is running live commentaries, and you're sleeping. I am lucky that I have this satellite thing; I am switching channels like crazy.
I don't have a television, I told you that several times.
Yeah, I forgot you live your hermitic lifestyle. Now you have missed the biggest news of the century.
Come on, tell me now. They got whom?
It is now you want to know? American Special Forces have got their man...and in Pakistan, of all places.
I thought they always got their man. Whom did they get this time around?
Don't be daft, my friend. Who have they spent the past ten years searching for? Who is the world's Terrorist Numero Uno?
I would say Tony Blair or George Bush, Jr. Now, we can add King Sarkozy and maybe Emperor Obama.
You really think that this is funny or that it's time for wise-cracking?
No, I am not wise-cracking; those guys top my list of wanted terrorists.
Who cares about your puny and insignificant list? Who cares about any list you care to draw up?
So, now that you have managed to disturb my sleep, can you tell me what all the excitement is about?
Osama bin Laden is dead. He has been killed in Pakistan. He was killed in "Operation Geronimo" by the US SEALs in Abbottabad, near Islamabad.
The news circulated for hours but now we have heard from the horse's mouth. President Obama just gave a speech at the White House. He has confirmed the deed. Wow, the man is good. The delivery was flawless. A real Commander in Chief! Do you know what Geronimo means?
How would I know and why should I care?
Geronimo is a Chiricahua Apache leader who resisted the US government policy to consolidate his people on reservations and led series of raids against Mexican and American settlements in the Southwest. Ah, I Googled it up, my friend.
For your information, the terrorist leader was killed in a lavish mansion near a huge military base. Americans are good, terribly good. We need their type of "can-do" spirit in Africa. Wow!
Is that all you have to say, hmmmm? Are you not going to join in the huge celebration? The world has seen the end of a mass murderer! Crowds have gathered and they are dancing around the White House and all the streets of America. America feels tall and proud as it rightly should. This is a good time to be an American.
Come on, Femi; learn to give credit where it is due. I know you don't like America, but at least on this occasion they did the world a tremendous good.
Why all the hmmmms, Femi?
I was just wondering how many times you can kill a man...
What do you mean, have they killed him before?
I don't know. I am just wondering why they suddenly chose to end the long-running farce.
You can't be serious, we are talking serious national security stuff here and you are trivializing it.
I trivialize nothing.
Yes, you do. I told you that US Special Forces have just terminated the life of the world's greatest terrorist, all you could say was "hmmmm," and then you wonder whether it is a "farce." Do you think that the whole thing was bogus? Do you think that it was stage-managed?
It has been known to happen.
And you think that President Obama will also fall for that? You think that he was just play-acting?
It has also been known to happen.
Maybe you should go back to your sleep if you have no sensible contribution to make. The whole world is celebrating and all you want to do is sleep and trivialize this ponderous and earth-shattering occasion.
Sorry if I cannot find it within me to celebrate the death of any living thing. Sorry, but death, any death, will not elicit joy in me. To quote John Donne, "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind."
Even of evil men like Osama bin Laden?
Per whose definition?
I think that you are rather too grumpy this morning. Didn't you see the crowd in front of the White House celebrating?
First, I told you that I don't have a television. Second, even if I did, I have better use for my time than waste it on watching charades. And third, I'd find such spectacle both inhuman and incongruous.
The sight of people celebrating the death of even their enemy is not something I can relate to, sorry. I thought that we had passed that stage of savagery and barbarity.
You cannot be serious, Femi. I really think that you are a killjoy. Can you imagine the stupendous efforts that must have gone into that operation? You should, at least, give the Americans kudos for being able to get some things right. Be charitable.
Ah! I should applaud a people for having recruited a "freedom fighter," trained him, sent him on missions, later denounced him, morphed him into a terrorist, killed him, spent ten years and billions of dollars chasing his mirage, shadow-boxed themselves silly, killed several thousand innocent people, and finally decided to end their charade. That's what I should applaud, right?
You are too cynical. No one ever called Osama a freedom fighter.
You didn't read up on Ronald Reagan. He called Osama bin Laden and his group the moral equivalent of American Founding Fathers. That was at the White House in 1985 when he met some bearded and ferocious looking tribesmen, whom the CIA was then bankrolling (with the Saudis) to fight the Soviets. That was the same man whose death they are today celebrating. And you expect me to roll out the big drum in huge celebration! Sorry, but like I told you, I have better use for my time than to waste it on celebrating any make-believe charade.
You keep on alluding to charade, do you know something we don't know or do you happen to be one of those conspiracy theory blokes who sees green Martians everywhere?
I see no green Martians, but I know a charade when I see one.
You mean the death of Osama bin Laden was a charade?
If it is not physically possible for a man to die more than once, then it's a huge charade, even a circus.
You cannot be serious, now Femi, come on! Is that not stretching things a bit too far?
Osama has been reported dead on more than one occasion. It may be that reports of his death were exaggerated. What is surprising is why suddenly they decided to splash feel-good news at this time. According to a quote often misattributed to Roosevelt: "In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens you can bet it was planned that way." Would you consider Benazir Bhutto a conspiracy theorist?
No, why? The woman has been dead for close to four years.
Are you behind your computer?
Check this link, then come back on line and we can talk further:
What has Mevrouw Bhutto's death got to do with what we are talking about?
Please watch the interview, pay particular attention to the segment between the 3:40 to 4:30 minutes. Come back when you are done.
Hello. Are you still there?
Are you sure this is not a doctored version?
Now you're talking conspiracy theory. How would I know? The interviewer, Mr. David Frost, is still alive and kicking and he didn't issue any denial. The BBC has cut off the relevant segment but thankfully the original video survived. So, we can safely assume that it was Mrs. Bhutto's voice all right. We can also safely assume that she knew what she was talking about.
Oh my God!
What has the gods got to do with this?
Do you think that it is really possible?
If anyone should know anything, it's probably the Pakistanis; here is what their leader at the time, General Musharraf, said in 2002:
Can you still find it?
Yes, I am reading it now. What the heck is going on?
How would I know? You may also want to take a look at this BBC story of Saturday, 23 September 2006, and ask yourself why the French will be instituting a probe against a non-event:
You don't think that someone is conning us?
Again, how would I know? My friend, the ways of the world are far beyond what small fries like you and I can contemplate and ever hope to change. I stopped worrying about these types of things a long time ago. It is the only way I can retain my sanity.
But are you telling me that all the helicopters, blood, and mansion were all faked?
Once again, my friend, how would I know? Simulating the death of a terrorist leader should be peanuts for a nation that can build a multi-billion-dollar make-believe industry like Hollywood. But that's not the main problem I see in all that you just so excitedly told me.
What is it, then, Femi?
I see those of us in Africa wasting our time on issues that have little or nothing to do with us. What is the relevance of America killing Osama bin Laden to the daily grinding poverty our people face every day? We leave our own palavers unattended and spend inordinate time on the problems of other people. In the process, we end up crying more than the bereaved. Today, the neo-colonialists are over-running Africa. They have made mincemeat of La Côte d'Ivoire. They are busy with their invasion of Libya. Those are events that should agitate our minds. But alas, people like you are excited because American forces supposedly killed a man who, for all intent and purposes, is either dead, was dying, and, for a long time, has been totally irrelevant to the scheme of things.
A voice from Africa worth hearing... Please consider a
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About the Author
Femi Akomolafe (see his profile on Swans) is a computer consultant, a writer and social commentator, an avid reader, and a passionate Pan-Africanist who lives in Kasoa, Ghana. Femi is known to hold strong opinions and to express them in the strongest terms possible. As he likes to remind his readers: "As my Yoruba people say: Oju orun teye fo, lai fara gbara. It means that the sky is big enough for all the birds to fly without touching wings." Femi Akomolafe's views, opinions, and thoughts can be accessed on the blog he maintains: http://ekitiparapo.blogspot.com/. (back)