05 May 2011

She Who Shielded bin Laden

Just moments before bin Laden was shot and killed, a woman - nameless, so far, but presumed to be one of his wives - rushed the assaulter.  Placing her body and the certainty of personal harm into the space between bullets and bin Laden; now in Pakistani custody; faceless. 

Just moments before bin Laden died, he watched this nameless, faceless woman risk her life for him.

And so, I wonder: does this act make an impression on the Taliban men who are gathering to protest bin Laden's death?  Do they pause to allow to arise in ther minds the image of this unarmed woman pushing her way through the fear-filled space of that room in order to die instead of or with him?

Yet she is a woman!  She is a woman - one to whom they would deny the right to education and career, to individuality, to freedom outside the walls of her home and her burka. 

She is a woman!  One of those who, in Afghanistan, is now grimly anticipating a future with the possibility of a newly-empowered Taliban; anticipating the return of a not-too-distant past that imprisoned her and her daughters, stripping them of human dignity.

Do these protesting Taliben men understand that this unworthy woman was worthy to participate and be an actor - no, a force -  in bin Laden's final moments?  Do they wonder about his thoughts as this woman - this Woman! - rushes danger with deliberate intent to save him?

Yet she is Woman!  She is Woman - is she not worthy to be educated? to know the beauty of personal dignity? to raise her daughter to live into the destiny of intelligent, intuitive, creative, loving Womanhood that is her birthright?  She is Woman, who - these men tell themselves - should be forcibly kept from sun and breeze by law, wall and cloth; denied schooling, work and access to health care; who, except for public flogging and stoning to death, must remain invisible.

Nameless.  Faceless.  Yet bloodied and imprisoned for bin Laden, this bin Laden for whom their fiercest love shouts amidst vows of revenge.

Do they feel the irony?

I would love to hear from you.  Please use the Comment link below, or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.


  1. Well done, Carol. In all of the hoopla over bin Laden's death, not much has been said about her or the other family members, etc. in the compound. Thank you for writing this!

  2. This is beautifully written and deserves a widespread audience. I wonder what kind of life she had with him, and what will happen to her now.

  3. You are an amazing woman Carol Marsh! Beautifully written, and good questions raised.