Bosama Bin Dickson

The other week I got the latest edition of the Economist placed mysteriously on my desk:

Something about the whole scenario just cracked me up. The mail situation is a little sketchy at school, but I mean, I have a mailbox, so why the freaky appearance of Osama’s picture out of nowhere on my desk? Is this a sign? And did the person who was placing the post it note TRY to put it right in the middle of his face? Or on his mouth? Did I shut Osama up? Or am I Osama’s dream? Is this actually saying “Now, kill Bowman”? Is this a sign that I am NEXT?!??

Just like it was interesting to be living in the Middle East during the Egyptian revolution, Osama’s death was another event that I feel like experienced much differently off of American soil. To be honest, I didn’t know what to feel about the whole thing, but I certainly didn’t feel like partying in the streets. It was interesting watching people on the news cheering in Times Square waving American flags, and I couldn’t be helped but reminded of watching Iraqi protests of George Bush during the Iraq War.

Now, of course I’m not comparing the two men, but don’t the two pictures above have completely the same vibe? I mean, it’s so easy to look at Iraqi’s as “the other” when watching them on the news, but it’s weird for me to have the same feeling about Americans because I’m so far away from home and no one here is partying in the streets, so I can’t feel that communal triumph the Americans in the picture are feeling. It makes me ask myself how people from Latvia, or Chile, or Mongolia see all of this. The biggest thing I have learned from living abroad and being a part, even if marginally, of a whole different society, is how easy it is to be Americentric living in the US of A and how hard it is to break that mindset. I hope this isn’t sounding pretentious – I mostly am just trying to say that it’s just nice to be able to see your country from an outside perspective and to be able to feel first hand the perspective of “the other.”

I was talking with one of my students, who is Palestinian,  and she mentioned that she was happy he was gone so that there would be less skewed misrepresentations of Islam in the world. And in the end, for some reason that was the feeling with which I most identified. It’s probably just because I’m here, because you know I would have been out in the streets if I lived in New York City instead. But that I realized I’m not happy that he’s gone, because now that he’s off the list, all signs point to the fact that I’m next…

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Posted on May 19, 2011, in Islam, Living Abroad. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Bowman, come home so I can put copies of People magazine with Kate Gosling on the cover with a post-it over her babies with your name on it…you’re next (#9). also great insight, the two juxtaposed photos are an interesting comparison.

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