They say that when someone dies
His soul just flies
Free from this world of lies
Into the skies
“So finally Osama bin Laden is dead”. This is what I heard a few days ago. Some 3 trillion dollars had been spent on killing him. "3 trillion dollars! Man that’s a lot of money. An African country would have totally revived itself with that amount of money. Or, what if that money had been given to me?" These were some of the thoughts that were bouncing in my mind as I was walking along the bund. The wind was quite strong and the mighty chinar’s all along the bund were dancing, as if they were rejoicing over my idea of getting 3 trillion dollars or were they just laughing at my foolish thoughts. I would prefer to go with the former assumption; after all, it’s a matter of self-respect!
As I was walking, the 3 trillion figure was still resonating in my mind. In a way Osama bin Laden was the most expensive man in the world. Imagine dying with the satisfaction that you cost your enemies 3 trillion dollars. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are not even close! In my dictionary that’s an achievement.
Remembering Osama bin Laden, firstly I found that both of us have one thing in common, we are both engineers! Secondly he seems to have been a good man or why would he have come to Afghanistan, giving up all his millionaire luxuries, to fight against the Soviets. I too am a good man or so I suppose (second similarity). At that time he was portrayed as a hero, because he was fighting against the communists and communists “by default” were the bad guys. The communists left and shortly afterwards the Americans too, but unlike them he did not leave the Afghan people, he helped them with his Arab money. No one seemed to have problem with that. But then he became anti-American and a villain. Why? That’s a 3 trillion dollar question. The media never answers it, but maybe it’s because we know the answer!
As my mind was wandering with Osama bin Laden, I did not realize that I was sitting beside Jhelum. I didn’t know how I reached there but as I looked around, I saw ripples on the surface of water. It appeared that Jhelum was passing waves of smiles. I could not understand the reason for his smile, so after greetings of Salaam, I straightaway asked the reason. He had been reading my mind. I wasn’t surprised to hear this, because talking to a river is a bit more surprising. He told me, “Osama died & he died for what he believed in. He had the character to stand up against the forced diktats, occupation and slavery of humanity by people who portrayed their cause as otherwise. Maybe the way he chose was wrong or it was portrayed as wrong.” Then after a short pause it said, “I have looked around myself for ages, and I have seen this nation in slavery for a long time. And by slavery I don’t mean being ruled only. When a child is born in this land these days, he is put in front of the TV. So naturally he grows up following what he sees on the idiot box, thinking they are superior because even his definition of superiority is borrowed from the TV. Thus he is made the devils slave from birth. He is made a slave ethically, morally and culturally. Being ruled over and being treated like a slave is just a consequence. First it was the Afghans, the Sikhs, the British, and the Dogras and now it’s someone else. What difference has it made? Ahhh…Slaves remained slaves, only masters changed! A few people raised their voice against this oppression. They became leaders who were never followed. People were always skeptical about everything. They just couldn’t phantom that someone had really stood up for them. When a nation has lost the battle of “hearts and minds” what can the leaders do? All that people do, is point out the faults of leadership. It appears they can’t think like free, honorable men with a positive outlook. They just don’t have the character.”
I thought that he would go on for an hour, but thankfully he stopped. I guess this was an overdose of slavery for me. I had always thought that I was free, but alas! Imagine my disappointment, arriving with a dream of trillions and leaving a slave!(please don’t laugh)
Walking back towards home I realized that my “Zindagee with Laden” was no different from “Zindagi bin Laden”. His death had just added a few news headlines to my mind and all I had learnt was that Abbottabad is the name of a place in Pakistan. Rest nothing had changed. We were still slaves. We always criticized the leaders and pointed out their faults and judged them on mistakes they committed, not their merits. And if they were/are wrong none of us has the character to stand up as new leaders, because we are too selfish to live a life for others. What a bunch of hypocrites we really are! It’s easy to Tweet about a problem but it takes character to deal with it. We need to change… nay, I need to change…. By now, I realised that the wind had calmed down, there was silence everywhere or was it “calm before the storm?”
In my heart there is a thorn
Maybe since the day I was born
But if this sorry state needs to change
It really has to be torn