The Guzmán Parallel

In City Journal Dalrymple compares Osama bin Laden to Shining Path leader Abimael Guzmán:

The two leaders remind us that it is not a lack of personal opportunity that drives men to found and lead large-scale terrorist movements that claim to be working toward the perfection of the world. Guzmán, true, was not the son of a billionaire, like bin Laden, but as a professor of philosophy he could hardly claim to have been one of his country’s downtrodden: rather, he was on the fringes of its elite. Guzmán’s movement was every bit as millenarian as bin Laden’s. More than any other factor, unbounded egotism drove both men, a fear of personal insignificance. You can’t inscribe yourself on world history by writing about Kant (Guzmán) or by continuing daddy’s construction business (bin Laden).

H/t Mary C. and Jonathan L.

2 thoughts on “The Guzmán Parallel

  1. Shishir

    I would say that its Ayman Al Zawahiri that is more Leninist than Osama bin Laden,also please remember that Ayman is a doctor!Like Castro ,Guzman and Guevera ,Ayman is member of the bourgeous while Bin Laden is really noveau riche in a society that went from camels to Cadillacs in a span of a decade!
    Most books about Bin Laden indicate that he was not very well informed.He keeps referring to Americans as “Franks” and actually believed the World Trade Centre was the centre of world trade!!The Sudanese government fleeced him and appropriated his assets while his brothers never gave him his fair share of the family wealth since they considered him to rather backward as opposed to their own Swiss,UK and American educated background .
    All this would indicate a rage against his society and culture but as Lee Smith points out the U.S was occasionally a casualty of what were really intra Arab wars.Albert Hourani in his History of the Arab people points out that most of the Saudi hijackers on 9/11 were from a Yemenite tribe whose land was appropirated by the Saud dynasty.They were acting out against Saud using America as a proxy.Remember Osamas main beef was the presence of U.S soldiers on Saudi soil even though they were invited by the Saudi king to fend off Saddam.Osama instead offered the King ,an Islamic army grizzled by the recent war in Afghanistan but he was rejected in a somewhat humiliating way.
    In the end ,many American innocents had to suffer because of the Islamists misplaced anger and now the latter have gotten their just desserts.

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