The Arab World and Osama Bin Laden, An Afterthought

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The Arab World and Osama Bin Laden, An Afterthought
By: Ali Younes — The killing of Osama Bin Laden came while the Arab World in the midst of violent and historic transformation that aims to shed the countries of its dictators and oppressive regimes. The timing of the killing could not have been more fitting for the region. The region is the middle of uprisings and revolutions, while the US is folding its war machines from its war theaters in order to end wars essentially started because of Bin Laden’s terrorism.

Al Qaida and Bin Laden were a product of and a violent response to oppression, under development, corruption, poverty and dictatorship in the Arab world. Today the Arab World is at historic cross roads where the people are toppling their oppressive regimes by using only their bare chests, not riding in the belly of a US tank, and not through waves of Al Qaida’s terrorism.

As a result, Bin Laden will not be greatly missed, for his actions have brought nothing but wars and destruction to great numbers of people. Although Ben Laden provided a feeling of “revenge” to some people in the region when he attacked the US and killed great many Americans and non Americans in NY and Washington on 911.  The feeling of revenge came because that many people in the region have for long time associated their underdevelopment, poverty and lack of human rights with the US actions.

The US is however morally responsible for supporting the Middle East dictators either in direct financial aid (Mubarak) or direct political support (Moderate Arab states) or political collusion (the tyrants of Damascus, Tripoli and Sanaa)

That said, however, blaming the US for what went wrong in the Arab World is like blaming the flu for causing cancer. The fact of the matter is that this cancer- repression, and under development, lack of freedom, lack of civil liberties and Human Rights- has created all kind of diseases that went about to destroy the whole body.

The greatest trick Arab dictators were able to pass to their vulnerable population came in two forms.

1:  the idea that development could come after we create democracy and therefore the Arab world languished in poverty and repression while democracy never knocked on the door to initiate the promised democracy.

2: was that democracy itself should wait until development arrived. But across the region and for over 60 years of perpetuating such trickery democracy did not show up and development never arrived.

The passing of Bin Laden is closing one painful chapter that for the  most part punished more Arabs and more Muslims than any other nationality or religion, and the start of another that was already started in Saidi Bouzid, Tunis, and Tahrir square,Cairo.

The demise of Bin Laden will not be the end of terrorism around the world, but we should take the passing of a reviled figure as an opportunity to learn that neither terrorism nor wars are the answers to our problems and our differences.

Ali Younes is a writer and journalist based in Washington D.C. He can be reached at:

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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