On the plane back from Singapore this week I managed to watch "Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?".

As soon as I saw in the movie guide that Morgan Spurlock had produced this, I was in... and I wasn't disappointed - this is one HILARIOUS film!

Wikipedia has a good synopsis, but looking at the comments there, it seems the Americans didn't find this film as amusing as I did.

The scene is set with Morgan expecting a new child and therefore worrying about his child being 'safe'. So, he gets on the trail of Osama.

After some funny graphics (think Street Fighter featuring Osama vs Morgan), we're taken to Egypt where Morgan does a great job of drawing parallels with Americans every day lives. The majority aren't that different in their daily goals and their dreams.

Morgan takes a look at the Egyptian government's democratic and human rights history (or lack there of) and we're left asking why America supports this regime. We treated to a review of America's support for "Our SOB's" which was quite amusing. I was immediately reminded of the book "The One Percent Doctrine".

Morgan then heads off to Saudi Arabia to chat to Osama's family. In his phone book search, he comes across 'Bin Laden Aviation' - what a riot! I'd have changed that company name after 9/11.

Next, we are off to Afghanistan, a country that has been at war for forty years and is riddled with poverty. I quiet enjoyed the suggestion to turn Tora Bora into a tourist destination... "Tora Bora - it's the bomb!". Here he investigates what is important to the locals and it comes back to the basics: water, food, safety, education... the same message we get time and time again (checkout 50 Facts that Should Change the World). Morgan suggests the best way to win hearts and minds is focusing on the centre of gravity: the people who like clean water, etc, which you service via mundane tasks like school & hospital building. This reminded me of the quote at the end of Charlie Wilson's War: "we fucked up the end game!".

It was a timely as I recently was reading a Time magazine article on 'soft politics' i.e. not the use of direct force to achieve objectives. It points out, however, that Americans like decisive victories which makes 'soft politics' seem... soft.

A final thought from watching this excellent and cheeky film was the polarity of 'developing nations' (aka third world) vs first world nations vs cosmopolitan (ie city) life in first world nations. Life jetting between Singapore and Sydney is just so far removed from the life and death struggle experienced daily in places like Afghanistan. Thank goodness and I hope in my life time the Afghans escape the cycle they are in.

BTW - Morgan never does find Osama.


posted by Lee Gale @ 12:05 AM,


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