“The Legacy of Bin Laden” by Immortal Technique
When the announcement came late last night that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by the United States, many took to Twitter, the streets, and the airwaves to offer snap judgments, brief thoughts, and celebration. Immortal Technique, instead, took a different route. The always critically thinking, socially conscious rhymer decided to reflect. He reflected on the news and what it meant for this country and the world, and he translated those reflections onto digital paper.
This morning, we saw Tech tweet the following: “I wrote a very long essay about Bin Laden and Afghanistan and our involvement with it, but I doubt any of you really want to read it all. There is no link. It’s not posted it’s just sitting here. I haven’t posted it anywhere yet.” We wanted to give a platform for the response of one of hip-hop’s most politically aware minds. Tech in turn bestowed us with this potent, lengthy essay that you’ll find below.
We encourage you to prove him wrong in doubting that anyone will read his words.
In a world that has been flooded by news, there is usually nothing that rises far above the smoldering lava of sensation—that which consumes all truth and absorbs all lies mixing them into a fiery lake or stew of bubbling nonsense. So much so, that to discover glanced over facts, to question people of importance within government or the machine itself leads to the branding of one as a “conspiracy theorist.”
Truthfully, there are many people who lived life with doubt over the facts surrounding 9/11, who felt afraid to express it, probably because they feared being accused of “hating America,” of being “with the terrorists,” hence sympathizing with the people who were responsible for killing all of those who died on 9/11. You talk to people like this at work, you see them walking by you everyday, you can read their rants on message boards or in chat rooms around the world, insulting people who present their doubts. Some choose to not question anything to fit in, others just figure their opinion is irrelevant and doesn’t change anything. After all, there is such thing as human error and no matter how much the government or people in it stand to gain, they could have a made a mistake, by mistake, and not on purpose. Some secrets are best kept secrets in the interest of national security. However, if national security means protecting the abuse of power and the negligence of authority, then it is not the security of a nation that is being protected, but the indulgences of the corrupt.
Of course, the counterpart to this position, which creates the fervor of hatred and disrespectful debate, is the believer of all conspiracy theories and repeater of random information with only websites as sources. The angry person who blows up a postal truck because they think that their tax dollars shouldn’t go to excessive spending, or things like bombing people or paying mercenaries triple for what soldiers should be doing. This person is sometimes purposefully placed in that position and given a platform as a deterrent for the people who actually have a truth to be heard and taken seriously. This is what we term an agent provocateur, a mole planted to make the real issues lose credibility mixed in with insanity.
Not all people who doubt the official version of the story are raving lunatics, though. Some have an honest distrust of their own government. Some are veterans of a war like Vietnam who know that the people who run the United States of America are very capable of lying even to the best and bravest of those who risk their lives to defend the dwindling freedoms that we enjoy. Others are youthful minds, seeking to present themselves as different than the bland and overwhelmingly planned out and boring existence that chokes anything original or radical around them.
For the rest of us that are caught in between, it creates a crushing vice. The overflow of information, whether it was naturally evolving or a deliberate blurring mechanism put into place, distorts everything. And so for the sake of logic and truth, and to put the recent events surrounding Osama Bin Laden in perspective, I have decided to address several points about America’s tumultuous relationship with him.
1. First Impressions
There are people in this country who, when they speak, give you the impression that we never negotiate with terrorists; that our mission is to overthrow dictatorships; that we help the people gain true freedom; and that we do not torture people… But without lending any weight to conspiracy, there is documented evidence that at Guantanamo Bay, at Bagram Airforce base, and other secret locations we have tortured thousands, many wrongly accused, to obtain information. We have supported many more dictatorships than we could ever possibly overthrow because it was necessary for us to be able to have access to natural resources including their cheap labor. Why else would the clothing manufacturers in Honduras quietly lobby for the coup in 2009 and support it? Because the people who make their clothes might Unionize. Collective bargaining, health standards (not even American ones, but that of the nation they are in), humane conditions, all mean cutting into the profit margin and, in case you haven’t noticed, that matters more to corporations than people’s lives. Why do you think a dictatorship like Mubarak’s or the King of Saudi Arabia’s never received the same vitriol and hatred as the democratically elected regime of Hugo Chavez? Because it is not Communism or Socialism or even radical Islam that this country is opposed to. It is any form of government, any regime or any person that stands between the United States and it’s interests that should be considered marked for death. (By the United States, I mean the entities—be they corporate or of some other means—that are responsible for our elected officials being in the positions of power they hold.)
Actually, we have always “negotiated with terrorists.” Iran Contra. “The Surge,” not in troop strength, but also the surge in money we paid armed militias and armed gangs to not fire at American troops. Etc… So it’s clear, we only care about one kind of terrorist. Our terrorist. That person or organization is our dog, and our dog alone. When others use such tactics against us, it is evil, unkind and inhumane. But when we use these approaches against enemies who have already been demonized, then we find some gentle complacency over it instead of the anger and betrayal at our American standard of war. For nothing damages the American pride more than to acknowledge that underneath the stars and stripes, we can be just wicked as everyone else in the world.