Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.
In the Tempest, Shakespeare makes a great case for sea burial. I don’t know about any of you, but I’d much sooner suffer a sea-change, at least as he describes one, than an earth-change. But there are those who would have denied such a dignified metamorphosis to the late Osama bin Laden. Zachary Roth, writing for Yahoo! News reports that Muslim religious scholars view sea burial as a form of desecration:
And Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai’s grand mufti, echoed that view. “If the family does not want him, it’s really simple in Islam: You dig up a grave anywhere, even on a remote island, you say the prayers and that’s it.”
He added: “Sea burials are permissible for Muslims in extraordinary circumstances,” he added. “This is not one of them.”
And Abdul-Sattar al-Janabi, who preaches at Baghdad’s Abu Hanifa mosque declared: “It is not acceptable, and it is almost a crime to throw the body of a Muslim man into the sea,” adding that the action “might provoke some Muslims.”
A similiar controversy arose when U.S. troops displayed the bullet-riddled bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein, after killing them in a protracted gun battle. It faded quickly. Su, I reckon, will this. One thing that has a decent chance of going viral, however, is the clutch of conspiracy theories that hold we never killed bin Laden in the first place. Among the leading skeptics is none other than former Congressional hopeful Cindy Sheehan. In Slate, David Weigel quotes her as saying:
I am sorry, but if you believe the newest death of OBL, you’re stupid. Just think to yourself–they paraded Saddam’s dead sons around to prove they were dead–why do you suppose they hastily buried this version of OBL at sea? This lying, murderous Empire can only exist with your brainwashed consent–just put your flags away and THINK!
In fairness to Sheehan, she isn’t the only Deather in town. (I give Weigel credit for the term; he coined it in an earlier piece yesterday.) Zachary Roth writes that the Washington Times’ Emily Miller has tweeted a demand for a photo. U.S. military officials claim to have taken such a photo, and may release it. Fake photos are already making their way through cyberspace, but you can forget about finding a link here.
In this morning’s edition of Salon, two 9/11 widows share their reactions to bin Laden’s death. Here’s Marian Fontana:
A little after 1 o’clock Aidan called. He was uncharacteristically upset and wanted to come home from school. “Everyone is talking about bin Laden. In every class, they are happy he is dead, but I don’t feel happy.” I convinced him to stay in school and promptly called the headmaster and school social worker who promised to help Aidan through the day.
I don’t know if I ever hated bin Laden or thought he was the face of evil. I’m not sure I ever thought of him as an individual. The brand of fanaticism he represented terrified me, of course. And I knew, logically, not emotionally, that he was crazy, dangerous and all-around bad news. Go after bin Laden? Sure, get the guy. Send a message that the United States is not to be f-cked with? I could see the value in that. But wage an all-out war on the entire Muslim population, using his actions and my husband’s name as justification? I didn’t think so.
Gang, this may be my last post as second-string Anchoress. I want you to know I consider it a great privilege to have blogged for you all. At times, our relationship turned adversarial, but you know what? I think that’s healthy. A writer shouldn’t open his combox expecting nothing but praise; readers shouldn’t click on a link expecting to see all their prejudices re-affirmed. Thanks for reading, and thanks for posting. Your input has helped me grow as a writer, or at least it’s made me want to.
— Max Lindenman
Update: Time reviews the memoir of Omar bin Laden, “fourth eldest of Osama bin Laden’s 20 known children.”
As the first book written about Osama bin Laden with help from anyone in the bin Laden family, Growing Up bin Laden: Osama’s Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World (St. Martin’s Press) is a valuable — if limited — glimpse into the personal life of the world’s most wanted man. In recollections from Omar and his mother Najwa bin Laden (the first of Osama’s five known wives), and with the assistance of American author Jean Sasson, the book paints a picture of Osama as a towering figure whose noble demeanor inspired fierce loyalty, but also an absolute authoritarian who wanted as many wives and children as possible in order to have foot soldiers for Islamic jihad. “My sons, your limbs must react to my thinking as though my brain was in your head,” he told his children when they complained about their life in al-Qaeda camps.
And you thought Mel Gibson had it rough.
Update: I just did something I would have considered grounds for a royal ripping-on, had anyone else done it.
While composing a message to a friend on Facebook, I wrote “Obama” when I meant “Osama.”
I used to think that confusing the two names was a sign someone believed Obama was a foreigner who hates America and pals around with terrorists. The conviction was so strong that the unconscious, in a case of classic Freudian slippage, revised Obama’s name to reflect his true nature.
I’ve since come to revise that theory. I now think it’s a law-of-averages thing. Just as a very large number of monkeys supposedly could reproduce the works of Shakespeare if given enough time, anyone who writes “Obama” and “Osama” a given number of times in a single day is bound to mix them up at least once.
That’s why it’ s very, very important to proofread.