I bet he’s furious. After three long years he finally psyches himself up to do his first television address in ages, intoning his beautifully crafted and meticulously rehearsed prose, so to spread fear and unease in the hearts of the infidels and apostates; and what is the reaction? No one even has the common decency to listen to the content and power of his words and delivery, all anyone does is to talk about how much older he looks nowadays, and hasn’t he dyed and trimmed his beard?
Osama Bin Laden has every right to feel aggrieved: We’ve all aged over the last three years, he would argue, even you. You just try keeping on top of a thorough skin-care regime when you live in this cave; it’s not exactly awash with pentapeptides you know, whatever they are, if they even exist beyond an advertiser’s imagination. Listen, I’m up here. Thank you. And there’s nothing in the Koran that forbids dying your beard either; or if there is it must be somewhere towards the back and I’ve skipped it. Anyway, I’ve had this look for months now; it’s only new to you because you haven’t seen me recently. When you get used to it you’ll realise that it suits me. I cringe now when I look back at those old videos, I really do. Now, where were we? But we wouldn’t take any of this in, so distracted would we be by his facial hair the shade of black Kiwi boot polish.
Osama will not be replacing Natalie Imbruglia as the new face of L’Oreal, and he shouldn’t expect that call from Grecian 2000 either. But this does all highlight the perils of being a terrorist mastermind in these superficial, celebrity-obsessed and ageist times. Bin Laden must feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, and who could blame him? How he must wish he was of a different, more deferential time, fifty years ago perhaps, some imagined golden age, when evil mass-murderers were afforded the unconditional awe and dread they so deserve.