The first narrative seemed most fitting: he was armed, shooting, when his foes cut him down, a death deserved by a warrior, not perishing from kidney failure, starvation or diarrhea from the pestilential waters of a Third World ghetto, still acting as he preached, courage and kalashnikov in hand despite white hair and beard…
Since I’d gotten tired through the years of young men/women doing the killing and dying at the behest of old, older and one-foot-in-the-grave men, dying like an old lion in combat seemed appropriate to bin Laden -- an exclamation point calling into question a pattern to which we have somehow become habituated, ever since war was invented.
But then the second narrative arrived: he was unarmed, protected by two women, one of whom was shot in the leg, the other killed, as one bullet drilled his forehead and others stitched his chest. He fell on no magic carpet, wasn’t covered by an enchanted tapestry, did not hear the ringing of djinn bells. He died in an unaesthetic house.
After a second of feeling deflated, I realized that that this manner of dying could dovetail into any variation of the Austere Warrior Myth, evoking photos of his austere demeanor, of him barefoot, wearing that threadbare almost priestly robe, in the desserts of Afghanistan.
That led me to wondering just who were there when a Prophet breathed his last on the cross. Fifteen disciples, I found out – and, except for Jude and John Zebedee, all were women.
As in birth, so in death; women’s faces attend alpha and omega. #