Jewish World Review Dec. 26, 2001 / 11 Teves, 5762
"Mom Says bin Laden Innocent."
So Alia Ghanem, fourth wife of Saudi businessman Mohammed bin Laden, and mother of Osama bin Laden, can't believe the tapes of her son gloating over the Twin Towers' attacks were doctored. My mother still can't believe I didn't become a doctor.
"I believe the evidence against him is not solid,'' Ghanem said. "I don't believe that he did the terrible deeds they say he did."' Osama's mom can't fathom the fact that her son is a terrorist murderer times 5000. My mom can't fathom the fact that I haven't won a Nobel Prize. Mothers just can't believe their sons can do wrong. Other mother's sons, maybe. But their's...never. Mrs. Hitler probably had to defend the deluge of accusations against her little Adolph. "He such a good painter, he would never kill all those Jews. Two or three million maybe, but not six. Now that Stalin boy... I wouldn't put it past him."
Moms just can't believe their boys could be guilty of anything evil. I'm convinced Mrs. James would have thought that Jesse and Frank were just "feisty." "Them boys are just sewin' their wild oats...and bringin' home the bacon. Such good boys."
With all the drawings we have to prove the guilty party in Lincoln's assassination, would you be surprised to find that Mrs. Booth felt that her John Wilkes was framed. "Those illustrations have obviously been doctored. John knew never to jump from balconies. In our house it just wasn't permitted."
Even if there is some reason to believe a son might be somehow connected to wrongdoing, Moms got to be someone else's fault. Just ask poor Mrs. Berkowitz. "Sure, David would talk to his pet Schnauzer, but all boys talk to their dogs. Is it his fault that David's dog talked back and asked David to kill a few innocent New Yorkers? If there's any blame, it falls on the ASPCA."
At holiday events my grandmother always served her boys first, leaving her daughters and daughters-in-law to fend for the ravaged leftovers themselves. Knowing the way the Taliban treat their women, I don't doubt for a minute that had it been one of Osama's sisters, Mother bin Laden would be thinking differently. "That Zahara was a wild one, she was. She was always hiding her mini-skirt under her burka on the way to school, that is when we allowed her to go to school. Now her I could see killing thousands of infidels. It would be just like her."
There's a reason for the expression, "momma's boy" And it's not always just a one way thing. Oedipus set up a rather (shiver) intimidating image for us boys to live up to, though back then dating opportunities were limited.. Moms just can't see beyond their son's "hi mom!" from any televised sporting event. I don't think it would be any different if history would have provided us with video tapes of actual confessions. Mrs. The Ripper knew that Jack enjoyed his evening walks and oh, how he loved the girls. He could have never...
Crossing all lines of race, color, creed, religion, sexual preference and outright stupidity, a mother's blind trust in her son's goodness is never based on fact, common sense or even global climate. Steven Spielberg's "A.I. (Artificial Intelligence)" even offered the notion that a mother's love for her robot son need neither blood nor flesh for the relationship to thrive. Moms think their boys are, at worst, misunderstood.
David Chapman's mum thought that her boy could be an overzealous Beatles' fan, but kill Lennon? Ringo maybe...But John? Heavens forbid. And what about ancient history's most menacing bully... "Sure Attila might have raped and pillaged," offered Mrs. The Hun, "but all the boys were doing it back then. No one ever brings up that he'd always bring me back an adorable souvenir from some village he had ransacked. They're just trying to make my Attila a scapegoat."
Perhaps the fact that Mrs. Bin Laden is just one of a number of her husband's wives makes her need for a positive relationship with her son all the more important and a bit fantasized. I don't know, but I can tell you that no matter how much his mom believes her little Osama has been wrongfully accused, he's a ba-a-a-ad boy.
12/24/01: TIME caves