A Couch Potato Weekend


The snubnose has gone to her grandma’s place, and the house is now super-quiet and I have been bored to death.

All the time she is at home, I keep cribbing about the non-stop chatter, and the all-too frequent interruptions, but gosh! the house feels so empty when she is away :(.

Anyway, last weekend I decided to at least take some advantage of the situation, and watch some TV…something I am doing after months. Boy, I didn’t realize it’s so difficult to get hold of quality programming. All I seemed to get were reality/music shows. Finally though, landed on Discovery where they had just started this awesome documentary – Jihad – The Men and Ideas behind Al Qaeda. Pretty engrossing stuff. They go into the childhood and early lives of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri, how their ideologies and thoughts, and the political and military turmoil of that region eventually gave birth to Al Qaeda.

Pretty in-depth, and non-biased reporting, and tons of first-hand accounts with people who knew them and who had been/still are part of their Jihadist movement make this program a must-watch. I think this show lasted 2 hours? (maybe more), but it is totally gripping and a fascinating peek into a world and a way of living that is so different from what we know.

I can’t say though that this program answered all my questions. I watched it hoping to understand bin Laden’s beliefs and world-view a little more, but I didn’t really get that. He remained as enigmatic and undecipherable as before.

The section on Al-Zawahiri was extremely illuminating though. His background – as a boy he was highly influenced by Muslim Brotherhood thought leaders who wanted an Islamist Egyptian government that followed the law of God. His path to terrorism seems to have started when one of the people he looked up to were thrown into prison and brutally tortured and killed. His later experiences in an Egyptian prison seem to have further hardened him and set him on this destructive path.

Makes me wonder how many juvenile terrorists, our prisons, unfair criminal system, and brutal torture methods are breeding now?

Btw, watch out for more TV/movie posts. I seem to have reached a standstill with Midnight’s Children, and am planning to give it a break for now, and enjoy TV for a change 😀

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  • I can never read a Salman Rushdie book all in one go — I have to always take a break for trashy television watching. (Right now I am taking a break from Shalimar the Clown to watch the season finale of Gossip Girl.)

    • @Jenny: Normally, I am good with Rushdie, but this one seems just too painful. I can’t understand it, it’s supposed to be the best of his books. Why is it so painfully slow? Maybe, I am just not in the right frame of mind for it.

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