August 4, 2021

"[A]s a young teenager he was sent, like other children of the global elite, to summer school in Oxford. There he befriended two Spanish girls, went rowing on the Thames..."

"... and visited Stratford-on-Avon. Nonetheless, he found the British 'morally degenerate.' By the age of 16 he was fiercely religious. At 17 he married a 15-year-old cousin.... At the time of his death in 2011, his wives ranged in age from 28 to 62 and his children from 3 to 35. When it came to his family, bin Laden was a man of contradictions. On the one hand, he required his daughters from the age of 3 to be separated from males and insisted that females leave the room when men appeared, even on satellite television. Yet two of his older wives were highly educated, with doctorates in Koranic grammar and child psychology. They helped write his public statements and curate his public image; they engaged in discussions with him on strategy. Bin Laden permitted his second wife to divorce him in 1993, after 10 years of marriage, and his first wife to leave him in 2001. His fifth wife was an ill-educated 16-year-old Yemeni... [H]e told his other wives that she was 30 and highly educated... It appears to have been a happy marriage and the two were in bed together the night of the raid, with two other wives in the bedroom downstairs. Apparently bin Laden was fond of natural aphrodisiacs to help keep his three wives happy while they were all in hiding together. He also used Just for Men hair dye."

From "A Fuller Picture of Osama bin Laden’s Life" a review, in the NYT, of the biography "The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden." 

The use of "happy" — boldfaced above — is straight out of the patriarchy handbook: If a man has a woman in bed, she must be happy. If a woman is dosed with a sex drug, it is to make her happy.

As for "man of contradictions," also boldfaced, I suppose bin Laden contained multitudes.


Meade said...

I wonder if osama bin laden read Walt Whitman and dug Bob Dylan. Too late now.

Ann Althouse said...

Leora writes:

"The author sounds like he’s jealous. Made me think of the Houellebecq novel “Submission.”"

Ann Althouse said...

Chris writes:

"Death to America! The Great Satan! Evil capitalists corrupting the pure ways of... wait... What is this? A hair product. Just For Men. Hmm. My wives tell me this will make me look younger. I must have it."

Ann Althouse said...

Begonia writes:

""Apparently bin Laden was fond of natural aphrodisiacs to help keep his three wives happy while they were all in hiding together."

"When I read this sentence, I assumed bin Laden was the one taking the aphrodisiacs (I wonder what it was--rhinocerous tusk? seafood powder?), not that he was making his wives take them.

"I guess my assumption is that the wives (who only sleep with their husband once in a while) don't need an aphrodisiac, but bin Laden would, so that he can "perform" for all of his wives.

"But yes, it's an odd paragraph. I assume the biography--"meticulously documented...replete with riveting detail"--provides more evidence to support that the marriage was "happy" beyond the fact that bin Laden had interest in stimulating sexual arousal.""

Ann Althouse said...

Surfed writes:

"His Koranic wife new what he needed
"But his Yemeni wife knew what he wanted."

Ann Althouse said...

Steve writes:

"Likewise, “you’re sleeping on the sofa tonight” is synonymous with the woman ain’t happy… it’s right there in the handbook."

Ann Althouse said...

Joe writes:

"I think what is being implied is that Bin Laden was the one using some sort of natural Viagra, not that the women were being dosed...nothing 'patriarchal' about that. My interpretation at least."

I'll say (now that 2 commenters have made the same point):

The word "aphrodisiac" establishes, for me, that it was for the women. "Viagra" isn't an "aphrodisiac," but a remedy for erectile dysfunction. An "aphrodisiac" is given to cause sexual desire. The implication is that it's for the woman who lacks interest in sex, not for the man who has a problem with physical performance. I'm not saying there's no idea of an aphrodisiac for a man, just that where the writer didn't even think of being clear about whether the male or the female was getting the drug, it's ought to be the female.

Ann Althouse said...

Owen writes:

"It’s 2021. OBL died in 2011. So are we to infer from this new writing that the period required to rehabilitate monsters is now a decade? Interesting implications: infinite toxicity in 2011, and only 10 years later it is fully neutralized (or even rendered sympathetic: a real family man). So the half-life of his toxicity is not 10 years, not even 5 years, more like a year or even a few months —to allow for multiple cycles of decay in his malevolence; say a dozen cycles or more , evil reduced and diffused thereby to background radiation, against which his smiling countenance beams down."