The Corner

Osama! The Musical

I kid you not:

While the rest of the world continues to search for Osama bin Laden, FRONTLINE/World correspondent Arun Rath has found America’s most-wanted man — or a theatrical facsimile of him — on the streets of Calcutta. … Rath traveled to India to see a wildly successful jatra, or street opera, about September 11 and its aftermath. …

[T]he opera takes a surreal turn as Bush aides appear on stage. They appear as bloodthirsty, maniacal men who seethe with rage and are even more despicable than bin Laden himself. “Let corpses of babies and old people — civilians — litter the streets!” one of the men proclaims. Then when the scene shifts to Afghanistan, American-backed Northern Alliance soldiers are depicted raping women and killing babies, then celebrating in drunken dances.

But perhaps the biggest shock of the play is the ending, when bin Laden returns to the stage, this time portrayed as a Muslim Robin Hood of sorts, protecting his countrymen, especially women and children. And the Indian-American journalist portrayed by [Arun] Mukherjee ends up so upset with America’s policies that he abruptly abandons his career and becomes an antiwar activist.

In the final scene, the journalist is assassinated while protesting for peace in Afghanistan, killed not by the Taliban or al Qaeda but by an American soldier. The closing message is clear: American imperialism is more savage and cruel than bin Laden’s terrorism.

There’s more, if you can stand it, here.

O Calcutta!

Clifford D. May — Clifford D. May is an American journalist and editor. He is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative policy institute created shortly after the 9/11 attacks, ...

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