One of the most remarkable things I have seen on Active Rain has been brought about by my colleague Bob Foster, a Realtor just down the road from me in Belleville, Ontario.
I am reposting his blog to bring it to your attention, but I would much rather you just read the original post so that you can read the comments on there. Zaina Bin Laden herself graciously responded to Bob's AR post, and I think that all Active Rainers will be happy to read her message.
Yesterday evening I posted a blog about a new book, co-authored by Jean Sasson, in which the first wife of Osama bin Laden, Najwa bin Laden, and his fourth son, Omar bin Laden, tell the story of their lives with him before 9/11.
That blog is posted here.
I have the habit of turning my Blackberry to silent through the night, and that meant that I missed a remarkable call this morning from Zaina, Omar bin Laden's wife.
She did, however, leave a message:
"Hello Bob. I'm not sure what time it is in America. Oh, I've just been told that it's 7:30 in the morning. My name is Zaina. I'm the wife of Omar. You wrote a story about him on the Internet and he just wanted to phone you up and say thank you very much, and wish you and your family all good wishes for the future."
This message was left less than 12 hours after I posted the original blog.
A few comments come to mind.
First, thank you Omar and Zaina for your gracious call. It was most unexpected.
Second, I would like to respond to the concern that many people might have regarding this book and Omar bin Laden's intentions. These concerns were reflected in Mike's comment on my original post - "Pardon my cynicism, Bob, but I can't help but wonder what the proceeds of the book will be used for. Any possibility of funding for another act of terrorism?"
Mike, my answer is that I have no such concern. One of the remarkable things about this book is that it gives a wife's and son's personal view of Osama bin Laden's interaction with all of his family and, in particular, with his sons. It is evident from the text that Omar was once the person Osama was looking to take on his role in the future, but Omar rejected his father's path, left Afghanistan and set out to work for peace well before the events of 9/11. The concern Mike expressed, while legitimate in terms of the experience of many Americans, is one that shows the value of this kind of book and of opening a dialogue of understanding that is possible only when we get past 15 second news clips on television and spend time in reading remarkable works like this one.
Thirdly, I am accustomed to posting blogs with little expectation of a response from more than a handful of people, as I am sure are many of my fellow bloggers. This experience of having received a call from the bin Ladens less than 12 hours after making a post reminds me that many more people read our blogs than those who take the time to respond, and that what we choose to publish can go anywhere in the world, and to anyone.
This is especially true when you are writing on a high profile site like ActiveRain where the contents of your blog are quickly indexed by the major search engines. This experience reminds me that the written word is indeed powerful and that we should use care, even in our blogs, because we are addressing a worldwide audience.