The symbolism behind the assassination of Osama bin Laden is bound to be noticed by any interested student of history. First of all, there is great symbolism behind the whole military operation code-named Geronimo; Geronimo was the legendary Native American leader, who had the audacity to challenge the phenomenon of American exceptionalism in the 19th century.
This again tells us how much America is enamoured of its own sense of historic symbolism, that it would like to bring back from the dead the ghost of its 19th century nemesis, to tackle its present enemies.
In the imagination of the 21st century America, the world is still very much a battleground between “us and them” or “good guys and bad guys” or, to put it better, “rednecks and Injuns.” America needs to kill its Geronimos in every century to assure itself of its self-declared mission on the world stage.
Another symbolism lies in the mainstream media's complete avoidance of covering the death of Orlando Bosch in Miami, U.S., just two days before the world heard President Obama declaring “gotcha” over Osama.
Orlando masterminded a terrorist attack that destroyed a Cuban civilian airliner in 1976, killing 74 passengers, including women and children. The fortunate thing for Orlando was that he was fighting Fidel Castro, America's then enemy No.1 in Latin America, on behalf of the U.S.
The difference between the death of Orlando and Osama lies in circumstances: whereas Orlando was left to die through completely natural courses, bin Laden was taken out by the Navy SEALs as part of America's normal, righteous justice. This symbolism tells us the fact that even if you are a terrorist, you can die peacefully in your own home at your own bed at a ripe age as long as you happen to be the right kind of terrorist for the sole superpower.
Apart from symbolisms, we can certainly conclude one thing from the assassination of bin Laden; there will be more America's public enemies No.1s born in the future in the aftermath. The moment President Obama chooses to bring just retribution to bin Laden is also pretty symbolic, it is a time when the sole superpower is neck-deep in debt, the unemployment numbers are soaring and the economic inequality is not showing any sign of coming to an end.
This is the time when you, as a President, need to show that you can be tough and decisive, and Mr. Obama just did that. Even if he is not able to provide jobs to his people, he has at least offered them what they have been dying for since the last decade, the head (read the still to be disclosed footage of the head) of Osama, the 21st century Geronimo.
We can safely conclude that from now on it is going to be a pattern, i.e., any future American President who happens to face a tough situation at home will try to come up with his/her own Geronimo (or Osama) moment. And you cannot have a Geronimo moment without a steady flow of would-be Geronimos. Already we can see analysts, experts and pundits talking about the new phase in the “war on terror,” possible candidates as the future head of al-Qaeda such as Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Al-Awlaki or Adam Gadhan being named, states as diverse as China and Iran are being considered possible future enemies. America needs to justify regularly to the world and to its own its self-declared omnipotent exceptionalism. You cannot do that without regularly inventing and then destroying those whom you consider your opponents and enemies towards your ideas. There is no need of superman if there is no Lex Luother. The Geronimo is dead, long live the Geronimo.
(The writer's email id is debanjanbanerjee2009@ gmail. com)