Who is Osama bin Laden?

Who is Osama bin Laden? Boing Boing posts Sean Bonner’s screen grab:


“Osama” searches spiked: Two thirds of those asking  “who is Osama bin Laden?” were 13 to 17 years old, reports Yahoo.

Teaching the death of Bin Laden

At Stuyvesant High, a few blocks from ground zero in Manhattan, AP Government teacher Matt Polazzo set aside a lesson on Nigerian politics to talk with his students about the death of Osama Bin Laden in a U.S. raid, reports the New York Times.

Mr. Polazzo, 35, was teaching at the school on Sept. 11, 2001, just a few blocks from ground zero. He witnessed the collapse of the first tower from a footbridge next to the school, and watched people leap from the second tower while waiting for the signal to evacuate from the school’s lobby.

His seniors had been in third grade at the time.

Sam Furnival, 17, had stayed up all night watching Al Jazeera English. He argued that the significance of the killing should not be underestimated. “After expending a trillion dollars and thousands of lives and 10 years, we were unable to catch one fighter of God who they said was protected by God from the imperial war machine,” he said, explaining the jihadist mindset. “The fact that Bin Laden is now dead debunks some of these claims.”

Mr. Polazzo asked another question. Do they think it would have been better to capture Bin Laden alive?

“That is what we should have strived to do,” said Chester Dubov, 18. “If nothing else, it would have been an excellent opportunity to give him due process of the law, and it would have been an opportunity to regain some of our moral standing.”

Most students disapproved of the wild celebrations of Bin Laden’s death.  But one boy argued that Americans shouldn’t worry about provoking the terrorists.

Besides, he added, “a lot of drunken George Washington University students shouting U.S.A.” — referring to one scene on Sunday night outside the White House — “is not going to inspire global jihad any more than there is currently.”

. . . Sam continued, “There are occasions on which it is appropriate to celebrate in the street, holding a Bud and waving an American flag, and presumably many of these occasions involve victory in battle.”

Killing a chief terrorist may be the closest we get to victory in a murky war on terror, the teacher suggested.

The New York Times has teaching tips, which include asking students to analyze why the Times told staffers not to write “Mr. Bin Laden” in stories on the terror leader’s death. Historic figures lose their “Mr.” when they die, according to the newspaper’s style guide. But this may set a speed record.

California students also were disturbed by the celebration of Bin Laden’s death, reports the San Jose Mercury News.