Friday, May 13, 2011

Osama's Vanity

This NPR report on the capture of Osama bin Laden and the videos the Pentagon released on him, contained something really interesting. 

"In one of them [the videos..],  which runs more than a minute, bin Laden is under a rough-hewn blanket wearing a woolen cap. His beard is unkempt and streaked in gray...

In another of the clips, bin Laden appears with a very dark clipped beard. Officials said that video was part of a propaganda message bin Laden intended to send to the U.S. entitled "Message to the American People." 
They [officials] were quick to point out the vanity bin Laden must have had to dye his beard for the video. Officials had said earlier that hair dye was one of the things they found in the bin Laden compound."
While NPR might call it vanity, I think it's way more than that.  Bin Laden needed to look younger to appear strong and immortal.  It's just funny to think that our leaders do the same exact thing...  


  1. It's interesting to see what leaders will do in order to appear strong to their followers. Think about it, we as citizens picture a strong president leading us through good times and bad. Look at FDR for example. Whenever photographed or featured in a newsreel, the camera never magnified the fact that he sat in a wheelchair. Otherwise, he'd appear too weak to lead a nation, especially at the time he did (WWII). It's interesting though, in the case of Bin Laden, that despite his solitary confinement in his compound, he still maintained this authoritative demeanor, at least in front of his followers.

  2. Thats really interesting! Somehow its easy to look at Bin Ladin and look down on his behavior, masking his real appearance. But all leaders need to be careful to present images that their public will respond well too. Think of leaders who make sure to always dress in military uniform. Or Female leaders who always need to look perfect...