"Discussing climate change is not an intellectual luxury, but a reality.
This is a message to the whole world about those who are causing climate change, whether deliberately or not, and what we should do about that. Bush... and the Congress before him rejected this agreement, only to satisfy the big companies.
Those [multinational corporations] are behind speculation and monopolies, and rises in prices... and they are behind globalisation and its tragic results. When those perpetrators fall victims to the evil they had committed, the heads of states rush to rescue them using public money.
Chomsky was right when he pointed to a resemblance between American policies and the approach of mafia gangs. Those are the real terrorists.
We should stop using the dollar and get rid of it... I know that there would be huge repercussions for that, but this would be the only way to free humankind from slavery... to America and its companies."
Whatever the repercussions of such [boycott] decision would be, staying in slavery to them would have bigger and more dangerous results.
If it [bicycle] loses a link in its chain, it stops running ... If the peoples of the world stop consuming American products, this link will become more vulnerable, and this leads to the reduction of harmful gases."
The above is not a statement by a leftist anarchist, save the earth group organising a protest at the latest World Economic Forum. In fact, the above are excerpts from Osama Bin Laden's (OBL) statement released on January 29. (The video statement has not yet been verified as authentic.)
For a man who purportedly lives in a cave, Osama Bin Laden's (OBL) recent statement is pretty germane to current events. His public relations firm is definitely on the ball.
The statement pushes many of the right buttons for several audiences.
OBL addresses the climate change issue following on the heels of the (failed?) Copenhagen Earth Summit late last year. He blames globalization for many of the economic and social ills currently plaguing the world. Additionally, the US Dollar and multinational corporations also take some heat.
As expected, the US is the Great Satan at the centre of the 'Axis of Evil.' More surprising is the intellectual and philosophical nature of OBL's arguments.
OBL's transformation from being merely an Islamic spiritual leader to a worldly, practical leader has begun. He is addressing several issues which strike a chord with any mildly 'anti-establishment' individual.
Surely, not many non-Muslims will give much credence to his thoughts. But even if a few anarchists and green radicals stop to listen and think, OBL has made progress in expanding his support base.
It's in the Islamic world where OBL's statement may cause real jitters. In the midst of a global economic downturn people want a scapegoat. With poor governance pervading most Muslim nations, OBL's claims that the US and its multinational companies are responsible for high unemployment and the rich-poor income gap become credible. Subsequently, it is a small leap of faith for anti-establishment populists to hold OBL up as a saviour for the oppressed.
For Islam's Main Street, OBL's 'makeover' from a Jihadi to a politician is subtly taking shape. His call for action is 'benign.' The statement intellectually engaged an audience more used to exhortations of war and killing. Not very different from the German Chancellor blaming the Anglo-Saxon capitalist model for the financial collapse; or the Chinese President suggesting the world's reliance on the US Dollar threatens international stability.
Apparently, OBL's statement created a significant buzz among US social media users. Of course, the buzz was a negative and mocking. Surely, his statement created a similar buzz in Cairo, Damascus, Gaza and Amman? I suspect the reaction within the Arab masses was positive.
I am uncertain whether OBL is dead or alive. His existence really does not matter much anymore. It seems his image is being refashioned into an 'Elder Statesman;' a brand image in stark contrast with widespread perceptions of corrupt secular leaders currently ruling most of the 'Dar al Islam.'
For his followers, OBL is not only staying relevant but actively influencing the parameters of public debate on important global subjects. There does not seem to be any other Muslim leader with a pan-Islamic audience. An embarrassing situation for Muslims, given the core of what OBL preaches.
Muslim leaders will be wise to wrest the initiative from OBL and become more relevant to the Islamic world.