Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 20:50 pm (KSA) 17:50 pm (GMT)

Bin Laden or “Bin Lehman”

Mamoun Fandy

Bin Laden struck the World Trade Center in New York in 2001, a building that symbolizes the strength of the U.S. economy, whilst “Bin Lehman” struck the U.S. economy itself, and the global economy with it. The question here is: who is more dangerous Bin Laden or “Bin Lehman?”

This term is a reference to American financial services firm Lehman Brothers, the bankruptcy of which cost other similar financial and banking corporations $70 billion to avoid suffering a similar fate. The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers was the bullet that struck the entire international economy. Whilst Bin Laden struck the tower itself, Lehman struck the heart of the economy. The number of victims of Bin Laden’s bombings of the World Trade Center was approximately 3000 innocents, whereas the victims of “Bin Lehman” and other tycoons are in the millions all over the world who have lost their means of livelihood as a result of the collapse of the world economy. The death and destruction caused by Bin Laden was shocking with images of a tower on fire, whilst there are no photos or flames to illustrate the destruction caused by Bin Lehman being larger and greater. It is a slow death almost like the poisoning of mankind whereby people fall one by one out of view of the television cameras.

Bin Laden is the symbol of a distorted image of Islam whilst Bin Lehman is the worst kind of economic fraud, known for derivatives, short-selling, and swindling people. The game was finally exposed and the global economic system collapsed. In Bin Laden’s case, people know that this image of Islam is distorted and should not be followed, whereas in the case of “Bin Lehman,” even though other banks knew, they could not say no and had no choice but to go along with it. You can reject and distance yourself from Bin Laden’s calls but not from “Bin Lehman” by virtue of economic equations and the rules it drafted so that you may gain profits. Bin Laden is an option whilst “Bin Lehman” was compulsory. Therefore, “Bin Lehman” is more dangerous than Bin Laden.

The U.S. had a clear target in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. It mobilised its troops to eliminate the corrupt and oppressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan. But where do troops go in the case of “Bin Lehman?” How would it work? For example, would this happen by changing the global financial system in the same way the U.S. changed the Iraqi regime? The world can isolate Bin Laden in Afghanistan and fight him there, as he is a clear enemy and is located in a specific area but “Bin Lehman” cannot be fought because he is an enemy that exists in all our homes, credit cards, investments and mortgages. The arrest, killing or trial of Bin Laden is possible but “Bin Lehman” cannot be arrested or shot because by doing so, you would be pointing the gun at yourself.

Whilst Bin Laden justifies murder via video recordings, sometimes in the name of the poor and the weak and other times in the name of Palestine and resistance, “Bin Lehman” does not present any such recordings and does not need to justify the mass murders caused by its banks. It is a killing out of greed. For that reason I say that “Bin Lehman” is more dangerous to the U.S. and the world than Bin Laden. Obama’s battle, which will be the real test of the future of America’s power, is not against Bin Laden abroad, but against “Bin Lehman” at home.

*Published in the London-based ASHARQ ALAWSAT on Sept. 21.

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