“September 11? That was just the beginning! Prepare for more of the same!” — Osama bin Laden, Bin Laden’s Curse — ‘Death to America!’
… by Lasha Darkmoon
[Editors Note: Dear readers, This is Lasha’s main debut article for VT, something that she has put a lot of work into and we have done a special magazine layout for it. You will be getting a full dose of the usual review of 911 unfinished business over the next week, but we wanted to add something new into the discussion, and we certainly have.
The focus on the art was symbolic in that while we must certainly deal with a lot of ugliness in the world, we must never forget about all the beauty that has been created, and motivation behind it. While fighting the bad, we must protect the good…Jim W. Dean]
A puzzling new poem, reportedly written by Osama Bin Laden in the wake of 9-11, is here presented to the reader in the run-up to the 12th anniversary of 9-11.
The reader is asked to decide whether the poem, prophesying Armageddon and the coming destruction of America, is an authentic bin Laden poem or an imitation. On May 16, 2007, on my twenty-ninth birthday, a beautifully written manuscript in calligraphic script fell into my hands in India. This was simply a series of sentences separated by diagonal strokes (/) which purported to be a literal, word-for-word paraphrase in English of an extended poem written in Arabic by Osama bin Laden in the immediate aftermath of 9-11.
Bits had been added to the manuscript (in the broad margins) over the intervening years. These served as commentaries and clarifications. The poem was divided into several parts, each headed by a symbol which I took to be a letter of the Arabic alphabet.
The scary title of the manuscript: Bin Laden’s Curse — ‘Death to America!’
I was given to understand that various versions of this poem, both in Arabic and Urdu, had begun to circulate in late 2001 in the tea houses of Rawalpindi, Karachi, and Lahore. One such version of the poem had been obtained by my Sanskrit tutor, Bengali poet Ananda Kumar Bannerji, while vacationing with his family in Srinagar, Kashmir.
He handed me the manuscript in Pondicherry, South India, at the Sri Aurobindo ashram at which both of us happened to be staying at the time. He asked me what I thought of the poem.
I was in no position to judge the “authenticity” of the mishmash of ravings that confronted me; nor did I attempt to do so at that stage.
Being a poet-translator myself, I decided on an impulse—and purely as a literary exercise—to translate into rhymed English verse the somewhat disconnected scraps that had come my way. It seemed to me that this fascinating material, which was essentially a rant of rage against Western civilization in general and America in particular, would provide a useful clue to Americans who keep asking, Why do they hate us?
The intelligent reader may be wondering at this point if his leg is being pulled. Did Osama bin Laden actually write this hysterical diatribe? Is there the slightest evidence that this poem ever existed in the original Arabic?
There are certainly no traces of such a maledictory poem in existence right now, either in Arabic or Urdu or in any other language, as far as I know. Bin Laden was of course a skilled poet, and many of his poems have been translated into English, but did he write this one?
My own view is that it is not altogether certain that bin Laden is the author of this particular poem, although the possibility cannot be discounted.
He may have written it originally in the wake of 9-11 and added bits to it over the years, e.g., the references to the Iraq war and the Abu Ghraib scandal which surfaced in early 2004.
To a large extent, it would depend on whether bin Laden was the evil genius behind 9-11. If he was, this would obviously increase the chances that he had written the poem—for in the poem he gloats over America’s humiliation on September 11, 2001, and predicts more 9-11s to come.
Nowhere in the poem, however, does bin Laden accept personal responsibility for 9-11. He is pleased that the act was done, but so were thousands of other people throughout the world who celebrated the event with champagne parties and dancing in the streets—as Tariq Ali revealed in the introduction to his excellent book The Clash of Fundamentalisms.
What finally persuaded me to offer this poem up for publication, given that it has been gathering dust on my shelves for so many years? I guess the time is right. It would be a shame to let the poem lie around unread. The material has curiosity value.
It provides, moreover, an insight into the terrorist mind. It is certainly a shocking poem, though its shock potential would have been far greater if there had been proof that Osama bin Laden had actually written it. There is no such proof.
Indeed, there is no proof that Osama bin Laden orchestrated 9/11 at all.
The only “proof” that Al Qaeda was behind 9-11 is that the American government and the notoriously unreliable and mendacious mainstream mass media say so.
Beyond this authoritative assertion of fact—an assertion that becomes increasingly unconvincing by the day—there is no proof whatever for the claim that bin Laden orchestrated 9-11. There is certainly no scientific evidence for such a claim.
Indeed, newly released evidence proves conclusively—contrary to government claims—that the World Trade Center twin towers and Building 7 must have been brought down by the prior placement of nanothermite and other powerful explosives within the buildings. (See here)
Here are some relevant facts the reader would do well to consider before reading the poem.
Though many taped messages had purportedly been issued by Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, not one of them after September 9, 2002 has been authenticated as genuine by independent experts such as the Dalle Molle Institute for Perceptual Artificial Intelligence, based in Martigny, Switzerland. (Institut Dalle Molle d’Intelligence Artificielle Perceptive, now the IDIAP Research Institute).
The only “experts” to validate the later bin Laden tapes have been those same intelligence agencies whose reputation for deceiving the public is now legendary.
Thus genuine video tapes delivered to Al-Jazeera TV in late 2001, featuring an emaciated and white-bearded bin Laden disclaiming responsibility for 9-11, offer a bizarre contrast to the obviously fake bin Laden video tape of November 9, 2001—a tape conveniently “discovered” by American soldiers in an abandoned house in Jalalabad.
Here a suspiciously plump and black-bearded Osama is suddenly found fessing up to 9-11.
Bin Laden was not a man given to lying. On September 17, 2001 he issued a message to al-Jazeera, disclaiming all responsibility for 9-11: “I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation.”
Just ten days later, on 28 September, he repeated his denial of involvenment. “I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks.”
The real perpetrators of 9-11, many people seem to think, were Israeli intelligence and their neoconservative accomplices in America. Possibly bin Laden thought this too—which would make him a “conspiracy theorist” as well as a “terrorist”.
Such an explosive conspiracy theory (Mossad + American neocons = 9-11 masterminds) could hardly be allowed to take root in the American psyche. It was therefore deemed necessary to pin down the blame for 9-11 on bin Laden and a bunch of jihadis armed with box cutters.
Hence their was a need for a whole slew of bogus tapes in which an actor playing the part of bin Laden accepts full responsibility for 9-11, thereby giving America and Britain a pretext for pulverizing the Muslim world and plundering its resources—all this at the instigation of Israel and their neoconservative allies in the Bush administration.
Bin Laden was almost certainly dead long before his sensational “assassination” on May 2, 2011, in his hideout in Abbotabad, Pakistan, at the hands of the CIA and US naval Special Warfare operatives.
An obituary notice announcing his funeral appeared in al-Wafd (an Egyptian newspaper) on December 26, 2001.
It became perfectly safe after this date to issue bogus bin Laden tapes ad nauseam, threatening the West with fire and brimstone, given that the real Osama was no longer around to deny the authenticity of the same tapes.
All these fake tapes and phoney bin Laden lookalikes have been a sign of acute desperation. The perpetrators of Abu Ghraib have not only lost the moral ground—they have lost the war on terror.
One person who is convinced he knows who did 9-11 is Dr Alan Sabrosky. Former director of the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, he does not mince his words in a relatively recent interview.
He places the blame for 9-11 fairly and squarely on Israel.
“I have made it absolutely clear,” he says, “that it is one hundred percent certain that 9-11 was a Mossad operation.
Here now is the four part poem purportedly penned by Osama bin Laden in the wake of 9-11. I have translated the English paraphrase I received into 8-line rhymed stanzas based on a strict A-B-C-D-B-A-C-D rhyming scheme.
This was because the original Arabic, according to my Indian friend Mr Bannerji, was couched in the complicated rhyming prose found in the Qur’an.
The reader is asked to make allowances for the apocalyptic language. This is all part of the original. Toning it down so as to make it more palatable to Western tastes would be self-defeating.
Decide for yourself if this is a genuine Osama bin Laden poem, penned by the Master Terrorist himself, or if it is an imitation.
One final point: I would like to assure the reader that, in submitting this poem for publication, I am not myself the perpetrator of a puerile literary hoax. I did not write this poem myself, nor am I receiving either fame or fortune from its publication.
I have merely translated, in good faith, a prose paraphrase of someone else’s rendition of an extended poem in Arabic reportedly written by Osama bin Laden in late 2001 and added to subsequently by bin Laden himself or other scribe(s).
If there are any Western resonances in the poem (e.g., “shooting fish in a barrel”), this is because my version is presented through the prism of my own personality and bears the stamp of my style and character.
This is not only a translation, remember, it is a translation of a translation. Many of the ideas sketched in the poem, particularly in Part 3 which is about Israel, are clearly out of date and erroneous. The idea that Israel is an American colony is one such wrong idea.
Here now is the poem: an extended malediction of America and a prophecy of its impending doom.
Bin Laden’s Curse — ‘ Death to America! ‘
“Do what you can, and so shall we. Just wait!—we too are waiting.” — Qur’an XI. 121-22
1. THE GREAT SATAN
America! The inhabitants of the earth Are drunk With the wine of your fornications! You have given birth To terror, hatred, hysteria! Your people are sunk In stupefaction.
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