Thursday 23 June 2011

Introducing Doctor Death

Since Osama bin Laden has been dropped into history’s dustbin, we haven’t heard an awful lot about Ayman al-Zawahiri, the new head of al-Qaida, the new Doctor Death. I’m not being wholly ironic in according him that title – he really is a doctor, a graduate of the medical school at Cairo University.

There is not really that much joy in his life; no, that's not right - there is absolutely no joy at all. It was his sixtieth birthday at the weekend though it's highly unlikely there was much in the way of celebration, because birthdays are considered to be a 'secular distraction'. This wouldn't have been any hardship at all for a man who, when he got married, demanded that there be nothing in the way of singing or dancing at the ceremony.

As a student of seventeenth century politics people like al-Zawahiri remind me in some respects of the Puritans, especially in the bleak mid-winter of English history, when they ruled the country as a kind of Islamic republic, no singing, no dancing, no theatre, no Christmas, no 'secular distractions' of any kind, just a heavy and deadening religiosity. Actually, on reflection, some of the puritans were not that bad, certainly not as bad as Sheik al-Qaeda. Oliver Cromwell, to be fair, was rather a jolly sort in contrast.

Does al-Zawahiri have any hobbies, I wonder, things he does when not planning mega-death? Oh, probably not; planning mass murder and martyrdom is such a full-time occupation. Apparently even bin-Laden liked time out now and again, watching off-duty militants play football when the two were together in the Sudan in the early 190s.

Not al-Zawahiri. He, as the Observer reported, preferred to organise a spot of murder and mayhem in his native Egypt, arranging for a series of bombings in the country. As you can imagine this was not at all popular with the recipients, especially after a schoolgirl was killed, causing a major reaction against the militants. Of the murder of this unfortunate girl he later wrote "The unintended death of this innocent child pained us all, but...we had to fight the government, which was against God's Sharia law and supported God's enemies."

You see, when you have God on your side there is no crime that cannot be excused, no murder that can't be justified, even the murder of the innocent. But we are not innocent, you and I and almost everybody else who stumbles this way; no, we are guilty; we are targets, carefully selected by Doctor Death, to be murdered at his convenience. Amongst the senior leadership of al-Qaeda he was a key player in urging the attack on America which lead to the tragedy of 9/11 and the death of some 3000 people; not innocent, not guilty, nothing; just dead.

And so it went on, his fingerprints on one outrage after another. His wretched shadow was to fall across the people of Iraq, where that psychopath Abu Musab al-Zarqwahi carried out a campaign of such vicious intensity that it turned the country en masse against al-Qaida in much the same way as the people of Egypt were alienated by al-Zawahiri's earlier campaign. We sometimes forget that it is Muslims, not infidels, who have been the principle victims of these nauseating fanatics, who kill in the name of God, a greater form of blasphemy I find Impossible to imagine.

Bin Laden has gone but the cancer is now in the shape of the Doctor Death, lurking like his master somewhere in Pakistan. The danger is ever present but there is some comfort in the news that al-Qaeda appears to be fragmenting, with serious infighting at the top. Doctor Death, not being the man his master was, not having an ounce of personal charm or charisma, is unlikely to be able to hold things together.

It's best to be cautious, though. This man, as we know from the attacks on the Twin Towers and other American targets, likes a big show, and a big show is likely to be the only thing to restore the fortunes of an organisation badly shaken by the death of its former leader. Let’s hope that a drone, or the Navy Seals, find him first. That's the one thing I wish in all sincerity for Doctor Death - death.


  1. I'd rather see him suffer a stroke that leaves him helpless and drooling, but fully conscious of his condition for about 20 years of bed-sores and abuse. But that's just me being sentimental.

  2. The prime example of an Islamic republic would be the one created during the lifetime of its founder Prophet Muhammad ﷺ 'The Seal of Prophets' and yet he used to listen to singing and watch dancing from various cultural festivities of the foreign tribes who sometimes came with their dignitaries to meet him and offer their acceptance at his mighty hand which God declared to be His own (twice in The Holy Quran). I can't recall any Traditions about theatre but the chapter on the Quranic Story of Joseph comes pretty close in style (it even begins by stating that it will now relate the Ahsanul Qassas [The Greatest Tale]. The prophet often liked attending poetry recitals and commissioned poets to lampoon in reply to the vitriolic attacks against him by other poets. He specifically gave instructions to strike up a song and dance of the purest and most elegant kind when once attending a very simple wedding ceremony and instructed one of his wives to ensure that it it was carried out.

    He most certainly did not like any form of extravagence and lived sparsely between the the extremes. His version of holy hedonism is best recorded in a Tradition in which he is reported to have said 'My example and that of the life of this world is that of a traveler who took a rest at mid-day under a shade of a tree and then left it. [So] live in this world as if you are a traveler or a stranger. If you live till night, then abandon hope for the next day, and if you wake up in the morning leave aside hoping that you will live till the night. And take advantage from your health before your sickness and take advantage of your life before your death.'

    The creature you describe above certainly does not follow the example of the Prophet of Islam. Nor is his idea of an 'Islamic' republic sanctioned by Islam in its pure form.

  3. It would seem that religious fanaticism has caused more turmoil throughout history than all else combined; indeed the opium of the masses,a thing of the past.

  4. Ana the Ancient Greeks used to joke that the Spartan diet, which consisted of black beans in pig's blood, was so awful no wonder they weren't afraid of death. This brainwahsed monster has nothing in his life that makes life enjoyable and so your title for him is entirely fitting. Take away pleasure take away enjoyment and you end up with the kind of ideology that you see here. Maybe our best attack would be to kidnap him and force him to engage in all sorts revelry. Interestingly there was a Doctor Death in Liberia. He worked for Charles Taylor and carried out germ warfare on the townships.

  5. CI, that's something my set complain of constantly. :-))

  6. Calvin, you old softie, you. :-)

  7. Rehan, I always value the depth of your scholarship, your understanding of Islam at its most profound. People like al-Zawahiri seem to me to be the followers not of God or the Prophet but of Iblis.

  8. Anthony, I wish that fanaticism was a thing of the past. Sadly it is not.

  9. Richard, I think I can now envisage hell for this man, an eternity at an after performance party with Stephen Fry, Boy George and lots of other luvvies. :-))

  10. Ana do you think he would turn into a luvvy? Can you picture him in a pair of leather trousers?