Monday, May 09, 2011

"Osama bin Laden’s medieval aims and high-tech means"

Steve Coll (The New Yorker):
When he died last week, at the age of fifty-three, he was hunkered down and cut off from Muslim societies. The standard caricature of bin Laden places him in a cave, stroking his untrimmed beard, plotting to drag the world backward in time. But a better way to understand his significance might be as a singular and peculiar talent in asymmetric communication and marketing strategies. His career as a terrorist signalled changes in the structure of dissent, violent and otherwise, in the Arab and Muslim worlds, particularly involving the role of transnational media. He grasped the disruptive potential of border-hopping technologies even before many Western media executives and Arab dictators did. MORE...

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