Bin Ladens Followers
Tiziano Terzani, Corriere della Sera (centrist), Milan, Sept.
world is no longer the one we knew; our lives have changed forever.
Perhaps now is the time to think differently from how we have up
till now, the time to reinvent the futurenot once again to
travel the same road that led us to today and that might, tomorrow,
lead us to nothing.
more than ever before, the survival of the human race is at stake.
There is nothing more dangerous in a warand we are entering
into onethan underestimating ones enemy, being ignorant
of his thinking, in fact denying him any reason, defining him as
crazy. The Islamic Jihad, that clandestine international
network led for now by Sheik Osama bin Laden and that, in all likelihood,
had its hand in the horrendous attacks on the United States, is
anything but insane.
we are to find a way out of the tunnel of dismay in which we now
find ourselves, we must understand the people we are dealing with,
and why. No Western journalist has managed to spend time with Bin
Laden and observe him from close up, but some have been able to
approach his followers and listen to them.
In 1996, I was able to spend a day in one of the training camps
on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. I left appalled
and afraid. All that time amid the mullahs, hard and smiling, and
all the young men in training, cold and scornful, I felt as if I
had some disease. I had never felt contagious like that before,
but in their eyes, my sickness was being Western, a representative
of a decadent, materialist, exploitative civilization, one deaf
to the universal values of Islam. I saw Bin Ladens followers,
scornful, free of any doubts. We must understand with whom we are
dealing to find a way out.