“Goldstein is dead: Long Live Goldstein” Welcome to the Post-Osama Era!
In Orwell’s “1984”, the enemy of the state is Emmanuel Goldstein, created by Big Brother to be a figure of hate for his people.
“The self-satisfied sheeplike face on the screen, and the terrifying power of the Eurasian army behind it were too much to be borne: besides, the sight or even the thought of Goldstein produced fear and anger automatically. He was an object of hatred (…) But what was strange was that although Goldstein was hated and despised by everybody, although every day, and a thousand times a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, in books, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were – in spite of all of this, his influence never seemed to grow less. Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by him…”
Bin Laden was, of course, well qualified to be a figure of hate for the Western world and he proceeded to become the global scapegoat. It is pretty hard to wage the “War Against Terror” as it is conceptual. Bin Laden became the face of the concept, and now he is dead.
There will be a few days of oscillating emotions and speculation, but eventually, Bin Laden’s sandals will be filled. Either someone who shares his ideals will become apparent, or Big Brother will identify our new enemy for us.
The War Against Terror continues, but Terror – today – has no face.