Tag Archives: Osama Bin Laden

Clothing the ‘Terrifying Muslim:’ Q&A with Junaid Rana

By Guest Contributor Mimi Thi Nguyen, cross-posted from Threadbared

Last Thursday, Reuters released photographs from the United States’ extra-territorial raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan, which show “three dead men lying in pools of blood, but no weapons.” (Reuters purchased these photographs from a Pakistani security official, who entered the compound about an hour after the US assault.) Reuters described the three deceased men as “dressed in traditional Pakistani garb and one in a t-shirt, with blood streaming from their ears, noses and mouths.”

On Twitter, Pakistan-based journalist Shaheryar Mirza (@mirza9) pointedly asks, “Why are Muslims always in ‘garb’ and never in ‘clothes’?” In a related inquiry, South/South (@southsouth) has been critical of The Daily Show’s graphics following Osama bin Laden’s extra-judicial killing, featuring photographs of bin Laden’s head imposed upon a mosque, and another of bin Laden caption, “Bye Bye Beardie.”

Our theoretical and historical provocation (for this blog, at least) is thus to engage the question of clothing the “terrifying Muslim.” For example, we could easily observe that terms such as “garb” emphasize a civilizational distancing or confusion (one involving both temporal and spatial dimensions). Where naming these clothes as “garb” seems to act as “merely” an empirical description, the assessment of subjects and their clothing practices may coincide with, or become complicit with, colonial schema. (Shaheryar Mirza (@mirza9) and South/South (@southsouth) had an amazing, satirical exchange about putting on their “garb” that underlined so well the usage of the term as loaded with civilizational thinking. Highlights include Mirza’s “American business-casual garb for me today!” and South/South’s “Clothes might make the man, but garb makes the Muslim man.”) Related to this set of concerns, I’ve written here about the epidermalization of clothing and sartorial classification as a weapon of war.

This time, I thought I would turn to my brilliant colleague Junaid Rana. Rana is an associate professor in Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, whose scholarship addresses the confluence of racism with concepts of “illegality,” especially through transnational movements of labor and war. He is also the author of the new (and sure to be important) book Terrifying Muslims: Race and Labor in the South Asian Diaspora, out on Duke University Press in the next few weeks. You can find out more about the book (and become a fan) here!

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The World Updates Its To-Do List Post-Osama Bin Laden [Humor]

by Latoya Peterson

So, since I’m a jerk, I watched part of the Bin Laden press conference, read the post-play this morning, and waited for the inevitable conspiracy theory to pop up.

I didn’t have to wait long. In an elevator, someone leaned over to me and confided, “Oh, I hope you don’t believe that’s real. Where’s the body? If they killed him, they’d have a body, right? I won’t believe he’s dead till I see the body.”

According to reports, the body was buried at sea.

So I cracked, “Well, we’ll just have to wait till he drops an album with Tupac. They could call it “Until The End of Time (We’re Staying in Cuba.)”

And while Amaru records is working on that, can someone please call Aaron MacGruder? Continue reading

Voices + Images: Reactions To The Death Of Osama bin Laden

Compiled by Arturo R. García

For decades, we have held in contempt those who actively celebrate death. When we’ve seen video footage of foreigners cheering terrorist attacks against America, we have ignored their insistence that they are celebrating merely because we have occupied their nations and killed their people. Instead, we have been rightly disgusted — not only because they are lauding the death of our innocents, but because, more fundamentally, they are celebrating death itself. That latter part had been anathema to a nation built on the presumption that life is an “unalienable right.”

But in the years since 9/11, we have begun vaguely mimicking those we say we despise, sometimes celebrating bloodshed against those we see as Bad Guys just as vigorously as our enemies celebrate bloodshed against innocent Americans they (wrongly) deem as Bad Guys. Indeed, an America that once carefully refrained from flaunting gruesome pictures of our victims for fear of engaging in ugly death euphoria now ogles pictures of Uday and Qusay’s corpses, rejoices over images of Saddam Hussein’s hanging and throws a party at news that bin Laden was shot in the head.

This is bin Laden’s lamentable victory — he has changed America’s psyche from one that saw violence as a regrettable-if-sometimes-necessary act into one that finds orgasmic euphoria in news of bloodshed. In other words, he’s helped drag us down into his sick nihilism by making us like too many other bellicose societies in history — the ones that aggressively cheer on killing, as long as it is the Bad Guy that is being killed.
- David Sirota, Salon

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Open Thread: U.S. Forces Find and Kill Osama Bin Laden

By Arturo R. García

A transcript of President Obama’s remarks from Sunday night is under the cut. But we’d also like to get your reaction to the killing of Osama Bin Laden, carried out during a U.S. military operation in Pakistan. Did you first hear the news on Twitter? Did you witness or take part in celebratory gatherings like the ones in Washington D.C. and New York City? What are your thoughts on those celebrations? What happens now, not just in America, but in the Middle East?

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