The construction of Sadah as the pitiful child bride of Bin Laden reminds me of the language used in relation to Muslim women in Afghanistan after the attacks of 9/11. Such images risk provoking the problematic question of whether or not certain Muslim women need “saving”. For me, this takes away from one of the most important victories of the Arab spring – the shift in perspective regarding the coverage of Arab and Muslim women. Rather than focusing on stereotypes, media images of women playing an active role in creating social change have begun to paint a much more nuanced picture of the diverse struggles faced by women in the Arab world.
The main argument for releasing a photograph of the punctured scalp of our enemy is that it will provide proof that bin Laden really is dead. In other words, seeing is believing. But does anyone really believe that any more? Believing is believing. People who want, or need, to believe that bin Laden wasn’t shot dead will have no difficulty believing that a picture of his cadaver is a fake, a simple propaganda trick.
Philip Gourevitch at newyorker.com
Seeing the photo will likely not satisfy the very miniscule part of me that has doubts about OBL’s death. But I still want to see it. For me it isn’t that seeing is believing. Rather, I feel that I’m owed an image of this very secret event that was the culmination of the most public tragedy the U.S. has ever witnessed. The photograph will probably be too blurry or look slightly fake. But I have been a witness since Sept. 11, and I can’t stop now. It’s not about vengeance or even closure. It’s about claiming my part of this very public saga. The hunt for bin Laden was put out there for all to see, and to now make this photo private seems cruel and unfair. To me this isn’t a “trophy photograph.” On Sept. 11, I couldn’t avoid the images of the World Trade Center crumbling, no matter how hard I tried. I had no choice. If the government chooses to withhold the photo of Osama bin Laden’s body, I will once again be left without a choice.