Ok so I don't know how much this really has to do with the study abroad experience and I know for certain anyone following this, with the intention of coming out to Singapore (or anywhere else in this part of the world) next year, won't have this experience. Today I suddenly felt much closer to the world than I have the past four months of being in Singapore (maybe because every time I travel and go without internet something happens). But yeh so Monday morning in Singapore my facebook newsfeed is alight with news of Osama bin Laden being dead. In fact the post that made me look into this was my Manchester course-mate's status: OSAMA! HE DEAD!
First question: why are so many people awake at this time in the UK?
Second question: has BBC confirmed this yet?
I'll never get an answer to the 1st but the second was affirmative. So damn... it's true. I always thought he was dead ages ago but they just didn't know where. I stick by that - just because I can.
But that just leaves for debate on what this means for our agenda in Afghanistan y'kno. Because although terrorism is a "new" threat and is actually quite non-hierarchical and sporadic, there was always the sense that it was personified in OBL and that there was kinda a 'kill the Queen Bee, take the hive' sort of mentality to the whole operation. Now he's dead, there's not only a power vacuum for Al-Qaeda but there's also a villain vacuum for the Western nations (and their associates- here in Singapore terrorism is an official threat).
Where do we go from here? Will we see the rise (through Al-Qaeda or any other terrorist organisation) a new super villain? Can anyone match 20 years committed by OBL to "the cause"? Will Islamic fundamentalism maintain an active branch? None of us know how far Islamic terrorist were following the cause or the man... we won't really know whether most will chicken out at the idea of the Queen Bee being dead. And many countries have shaped their domestic and foreign policies to protect against such terrorism, if not for themselves (because they'll never be a genuine target for terrorists) then for bigger states like America with whom they hold strong alliance and upon whom they rely, economically. It just seems that if OBL's death shakes Al-Qaeda foundations enough to create major cracks and weaken it significantly, then the civil liberties that have been taken away from us in so many countries should be restored. This of course will never happen, but it should. (Of course if he's been dead for ages like I suggest then this is all bull because clearly Al-Qaeda can survive without their gaffer). And in the foreign policy aspect, I read and learn all the time about how the West withdrew from so many regions and countries when the Cold War ended and it seemed the Commies were no longer a threat. The US has imposed itself in a lot of places in the name of the WoT. I expect now they will withdraw (not immediately mind you), and this will rock the boat in many countries.
And what for my poor Muammar Gaddafi who claimed so fervently that Al-Qaeda were infiltrating his people and drugging them up. No doubt with OBL dead, the possibility of Al-Qaeda downsizing and all the agents heading back to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan for the memorial service, Gaddafi can now sleep soundly in the knowledge that it's definitely only real Libyans now, who are fighting against him... oh with a little help from our friends NATO (No Average Terrorist Organisation)