In-laws in jihad
The Oath, documentary, not rated, in English and Arabic with subtitles, 96 minutes, The Screen, 3 chiles
II pledge to God to assist and support, regardless of my own self-interest or reasoning, regardless of my own well-being, and not to challenge the leadership.
— al-Qaida loyalty oath What does evil look like? Is it the face of Osama bin Laden, scowling beneath a scraggly beard, preaching holy war against the West? Is it the face of Donald Rumsfeld, square-jawed and cocky, squinting behind moon-shaped glasses, preaching preemptive shock and awe?
It probably doesn’t look much like the face of Salim Hamdan, Osama’s former driver, who was incarcerated in isolation in Guantánamo. He waited seven years for a trial, which finally came about when his lawyers won the landmark Supreme Court victory in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, establishing that the Bush administration’s military commissions set up to try Guantánamo detainees overreached and violated U.S. military law and the Geneva Conventions. In Laura Poitras’ documentary The Oath, we first see Hamdan’s face covered with a hood, in grainy black-and-white footage of his initial interrogation after his capture in Afghanistan in November 2001.
Evil may not look much like the face of Abu Jandal, Hamdan’s brotherin-law, a bodyguard for Osama in the late 1990s and now a taxi driver in Yemen’s capital city, Sana’a. We first see him asking his adorable little son Hamid what he wants to be when he grows up. “A jihadist,” says the boy with a gaptoothed smile. Evil, of course, doesn’t look like much of anything. It is cloaked in banality, to use the term coined by Hannah Arendt. So Osama is evil to
After Osama: Abu Jandal