Osama Bin Laden, to me is the most fascinating figure in the book “The Looming Tower” by Lawrence Wright. Osama Bin Laden can be a common choice among many but the choice is justified.
Bin Laden was always keen, willing and took the initiative in doing new things. In the book, the author describes Bin Laden as an “enterprising young Saudi” (Wright, 61). His portrayed a never die attitude and never backed away from any job. He was authoritative from a very young age. He showed the characteristics of a leader at a young age when he looked after his brothers and sisters. The qualities of a leader that he showcased in his adulthood were visible in his childhood and teen ages. One of his childhood companions remembers in the book that his siblings were afraid of Osama more than their father. He said, “If his stepfather wanted something done, he would tell Osama. His brothers say they didnt fear their father as much as they did Osama” (Wright, 74).
Another fascinating aspect of Bin Laden is the fact that in spite of coming from a rich family and going to a western school, he developed an attitude that was against westerns and had a heart for the poor. He felt the sorrow and pain of the less fortunate. He showed his displeasure and frustration towards situations in Palestine and Arab worlds. He became religious and gave up completely on western likes. It was easy for him like any other kid from a similar background to enjoy the perks of the luxurious life style. But his passion for Islam was enormous. His mother remembers about him:
But he was more concerned, sad, and frustrated about the situation in Palestine in particular, and the Arab and Muslim world in general. He thought Muslims are not close enough to Allah, and Muslim youth are too busy playing and having fun (Wright, 76).
Osama also was very adventurous and indulges in many adventure activities. He had a liking for automotives and could not resist himself from driving fast. He in most sense resembled many rebellions of his time (1950’s – 1980’s). An example is the Argentina revolutionist Che Guevara.
He had an adventurous adolescence—mountain climbing in Turkey and big-game hunting in Kenya. On his family farm south of Jeddah, Osama kept a stable of horses, having as many as twenty at one time, including his favorite, a mare named al-Balqa. He liked to ride and shoot, just like the cowboys on his favorite television shows (Wright, 77).
Osama Bin Laden is a fascinating character in the book. He could have become anything he wanted with the kind of wealth and the family that he came from. But he chooses a path that was one of liberation to him and others who believe in the same ideology. The way he evolves into a religious leader and a solider from a small kid who liked cowboy shows is intriguing.
Wright, Lawerence. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. NY: Randon House Inc, 2006.