Counting teeth 12

How bleak and sad life is for the religious, especially for Muslims, and most miserably for their women and children.

Osama bin Laden was a rich man. Phyllis Chesler tells how he kept his wives and children in want, hunger, discomfort, and deliberate joylessness.

While he still lived in Saudi Arabia, before he had to flee to Sudan and thereafter to Afghanistan, [Osama bin Laden] condemned his wives and children to lives of physical, medical, and psychological hardship. …

He insisted on an increasingly spartan existence as a matter of ideology

Here is what Omar bin Laden has written about his life with his father Osama:

“There were absurd rules regarding our conduct. ..  We were told that we must not become excited at any situation. We should be serious about everything. We were not allowed to tell jokes. We were ordered not to express joy over anything. He did say that he would allow us to smile so long as we did not laugh. If we were to lose control of our emotions and bark a laugh, we must be careful not to expose our eyeteeth. I have been in situations where my father actually counted the exposed teeth, reprimanding his sons on the number their merriment had revealed.”

According to Omar, his father … “caned” him and his brothers “for the slightest infraction.” Osama… deprived his sons of their much needed asthma medication … He force marched them without water for hours and in the desert. In addition, he allowed his sons to be brutalized by sadistic teachers. He refused to give his sons “pocket money” for “school snacks.” He told them, Omar writes:

“‘No. You need to suffer. Hunger pangs will not hurt you.’ … Our father appeared to relish seeing us suffer, reminding us that it was good for us to know what it felt like to be hungry or thirsty, to do without while others had plenty. Why? He said that we would end up being the stronger. Those with plenty would grow up weak men, unable to defend themselves.” …

Omar and his brothers all learned that they would have to endure paternal cruelty and humiliation and that their tender and sympathetic mothers would not and could not intercede on their behalf. Osama bin Laden’s wives, especially Najwa, Omar’s mother, are portrayed as … submissive, uncomplaining, very religious, quite passive. Najwa gave up her desire to decorate her home, which was, essentially, her prison. … She never uttered a single complaint—not even when she was deprived of most conveniences and normal amenities. Omar writes:

“Although we lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which is one of the hottest and most humid cities in a country that is known for its hot climate, my father would not allow my mother to turn on the air-conditioning that the contractor had built into the apartment building. Neither would he allow her to use the refrigerator that was standing in the kitchen. My father announced, ‘Islamic beliefs are corrupted by modernization.’”

Yet “he himself had fast cars, fast planes … weaponry too.”

Although he has every reason to hate his father, Omar bin Laden is complaining that the cruel old man did not receive justice.

What would be justice for a man who has killed thousands of people? He has only two eyes to give for thousands of eyes, only one mouthful of teeth for thousands of teeth. He cannot be made to choose between death by fire or leaping from a height, or to choke in smoke, or to crash to the ground in a plane, thousands of times over.

Besides, justice has no place in war. War happens when law and all civil norms have broken down. Osama bin Laden made war on the United States, so American warriors hunted him down and shot him dead. He deserved worse.