Osama bin Laden: 7 stories you may have missed
The death of the world's most hunted terrorist has commanded the world's attention for a week. Here, some of the offbeat details that slipped through the cracks
The killing of Osama bin Laden has dominated the news for more than a week, prompting seemingly endless speculation about what exactly happened during the daring, late-night raid; the political impact; and the legality of the killing. It has also brought to light some less earth-shattering stories about bin Laden, various world leaders, oddball characters, and ourselves. Here, a look at seven of the stories you may have missed this past week:
1. Lots of teenagers don't know who bin Laden wasOne of the top online search questions May 1, as news of bin Laden's death spread, was "Who is Osama bin Laden?" Two-thirds of the people asking were age 13 to 17. Twitter was also abuzz with teenagers publicly drawing a blank on bin Laden. They were mocked mercilessly, says Noreen Malone at The Atlantic. But remember, these kids "would have been small children when the Twin Towers fell," and shouldn't we at least partly welcome this "oddly heartening ignorance"? (Watch young kids reflect on bin Laden's death.)
2. Bin Laden wouldn't give kids their balls backMany of the children living near bin Laden's compound in Pakistan didn't know who bin Laden was, either. But they probably played with his grandchildren. "We used to play cricket next to their house," Zarar Amjed Turk, 12, tells CNN. "Whenever our cricket ball went into the compound, we knocked on the door and asked for the ball. But the guy always said our ball was lost, and gave us 50 rupees (59 cents) and asked us to buy a new one." Local kids told the same story about soccer balls kicked over the walls. Why didn't bin Laden just throw the balls back? says Jim Newell at Gawker. "Didn't al Qaeda members have childhoods?"
3. Osama was a serious judo studentTaiwan-born judo coach Jimmy Wu says that bin Laden was a student of his in the early 1980s in Saudi Arabia. Wu, now an Australian citizen, showed Reuters a picture of a man he says is bin Laden, and explained that he remembered him because of his height and intensity. One memory was when Wu's wife came to find him during class. Bin Laden said, "'This is the center, no women should be in here.' He did not approve. I have a particular memory of this. That was Osama."
4. An impersonator in Colombia is enjoying his 15 minutesHasmet Hichster Londoño, a parking lot security guard in Bogota, Colombia, has been dressing like bin Laden for seven years, right down to the beard, white robes and hat, camouflage fatigues, and fake AK-47. After the death of his fashion inspiration, Londoño wound up making cameos in newspapers around the world. "A dead ringer?" asks Britain's Daily Mail. "In America, a man would probably not be allowed to walk down the street dressed as Osama bin Laden without attracting catcalls — or worse," adds Metro.
5. An Irish church got punked on a memorial for bin LadenThe Church of the Assumption, a Catholic parish in Dublin, Ireland, yanked an online notice for a Mass in honor of "Osama bin Laden (recently deceased)" on Saturday, after the announcement prompted pointed questions from the public. The "red-faced" church blamed the item on "a mistake or a hoax or a prank." Said a spokeswoman: "It is not really clear what happened," but parishioners often request to have a Mass said in honor of a dead relative or loved one, and this one probably just slipped through.
6. Osama's death was hailed as Pope John Paul's latest miracleThe fact that bin Laden was killed on the exact day that Pope Benedict XVI beatified his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, is no coincidence, Peruvian President Alan Garcia told a Lima TV station. "I have said that his first miracle has been to remove from the earth this demonic incarnation of crime, evil, and hatred." Not that Garcia is celebrating, per se. "In the face of a man's death, a Christian never rejoices," he says. Pope John Paul has one church-certified miracle, and needs one more to rise to the next level, sainthood.
7. Hasidic Jews airbrushed Hillary out of the Situation RoomThe White House photo of President Obama and his national security team watching the raid on bin Laden unfold in real time is perhaps the most iconic image of the event. But when it was reprinted in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn newspaper Di Tzeitung, something was missing: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and counterterrorism official Audrey Tomason. Di Tzeitung (The Newspaper, in Yiddish) apologized, explaining that it has a longstanding policy of never publishing photographs of women, in keeping with the "laws of modesty" observed by its Hasidic Jewish readers.