Is Time doing the right thing? - Mark Blaisse
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Is Time doing the right thing?

Time Magazine chose to put the portait of Osama bin Laden on its cover of the May20th issue. His face has been crossed. No doubt about it: Time is relieved, like most of us. But is it the right signal? Of course, for the US, capturing the murderer of thousands of innocent people is more than a victory. It is justice at long last. But must an American magazine be radical to the point of rubbing things in? I try to place myself in the head of a moderate Muslim, a person who is against terrorism and in favor of justice. Would I find the cover provocative?  I think so. Yes, Osama is dead. But  the circumstances under which he was killed are not clear. Could he have been brought to court? Could his death -in other words- have been avoided? What about Western transparency and morality? No straight answer has been given yet. Time doesn’t seem to care. Elimination is the clue. In 2003 Time’s cover showed Saddam Hussein with a red X to ‘celebrate’ the US led coalition’s take over of Baghdad. In 2006, another X, this time over the face of Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, ‘the scourge of Iraq’, as Time called him. Three out of four crosses in the Time cover history are on Muslims. Would I have been a Muslim I would wonder. But I do so anyhow.

The story of X started in 1945 (may 7th) when the first X’d face appeared on Time’s cover: that of Adolf Hitler. That’s a X I do understand! Which seems to show that I am biassed by my own culture, history and sensitivity… Or should I say: it is impossible to wheigh the X if you haven’t experienced the connected tragedies yourself or via your family. That would mean that Time is right after all when it crosses faces. To get rid of nasty memories.  In a way it kills or eliminates a second time.

(Wondering who is next? What about DSK? I am sure someone in the news room is thinking of him for a X cover. Nasty frog, is he?)

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