The American Gaze and _Where in the World is Osama bin Ladin?_

My brother and I are having a chill afternoon and I decided to watch a little of Where in the World is Osama bin Ladin. In the first ten minutes, they’ve talked about Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt as if they are all and equally dangerous.

While I’m glad we as a country have processed the trauma of 9/11 to be making comedy movies with video-game illustrations about Osama bin Ladin, it’s still irritating to be subjected to the American gaze (like the Male Gaze, but from Americans), whereby the Middle East is painted with the same bright red WARNING brush.

But by the 20 minute mark, the movie’s tone has shifted. The narrator is laughing and smiling with Egyptians and Moroccans, his search for the terrorist turned more into a personal journey to learn about how other fathers live (during filming his wife was pregnant with their first child). This is a lovely and much more interesting frame-narrative than the titular one of his search for Osama bin Ladin. I could almost see the American gaze widening to include the experiences and perceptions of other views.

All and all, not a movie I would watch again, but a great break on a hot afternoon.

Inspirational Quote:

“Do not forget that the Arab countries, starting with Algeria and Egypt, are the ones that have paid the heaviest toll because of Islamic terror.”–Omar Bongo

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