An analysis of why westerners dream about Bin Laden and what it might mean.
When I first came to New York about a year after the 11 September attacks, I had a dream about Osama Bin Laden.
The al-Qaeda leader was sitting two seats over from me on the plane. His face was oddly wrapped up in his turban so at first I did not notice, but the man sitting between us, gently poked me and whispered: “I think that guy is Osama Bin Laden.” I saw that it was, and I was horrified.
I put the word out to friends and friends of friends and I spent many nights googling and trawling through blogs, collecting the dream, one after the other, like pearls on a thread, driven by this profound and comical idea of the world’s most isolated and sought after man appearing all over the West, in the most intimate of places – our bedrooms.
I was curious to find out what kind of portrait would appear if I brought these shards of nightly visions together.
As I found more and more dreams, one thing became clear to me – most of the dreamers seemed a lot less fearful about this man than the governments wanted them to be.
It seemed to me that the dreams expressed a need to re-humanise this “creature”.
That most of us secular Westerners have a hard time accepting this idea of “absolute evil” which, of course, is a very religious idea.
And the “war on terror” – a notion propped up by so many linguistic absurdities and rhetorical acrobatics, that the dreams in contrast, seem fairly sane.
I can’t remember whether or not I’ve ever dreamed about Bin-Ladin. But if I do, I’ll post about it here.