Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
May 5, 2011

So… bin Laden 2011: Threat or Legend?

The “evil one” lives???

Try Hasmet Hichster Londono, a Columbian non-Muslim who has been personifying OBL around his Bogota neighborhood of Santa Fe for the past seven years. The reason I came upon him is because Hasmet today is the rather random subject of a fat Getty photo shoot.

So, what’s the draw?

Besides the long-running parody itself, to me it’s the desolate street sprinkled with a few gawking kids who were hardly walking ten years ago. Paired with the feigned-anguish, of course, the photo plays with the question of how much real relevance bin Laden retained over the past few years. Maybe Osama was as dangerous as ever, “the extremely wanted one” simply operating in the drone-era in an effective, but super-stealth kind of way. On the other hand, Hasmet’s shtick seems to suggest that bin Laden had become something else — an icon passing slowly into terror folklore.

Well, it’s going to be very interesting to find out what was on those computers and flash drives.

(photo: Guillermo Legaria/AFP – Getty Images)

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