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(Credit: Far Out / Hamid Mir / Sajjad Ali Qureshi)

Film

The CIA revealed the bizarre film Osama Bin Laden kept in his Pakistan hideout

@TomTaylorFO

Now here’s a question to ask in the pub this weekend: Which DVD did Osama Bin Laden spend his days in hiding watching? You’ll receive a lot of wrong answers but a weird truth will come to the fore: Of all the things that the CIA unearthed about Bin Laden when his bunker was finally found, it was the banal everyday revelations that proved all the more mind-bending by contrast. 

Whether it was complaining about the tactics Arsene Wenger employed in last night’s Arsenal game in his journal or illegal downloads of the video game Super Mario Bros, these everyday things weirdly humanised him in a way that is hard to reconcile. Such was the scale of his atrocities we almost section him as a sort of fabled figure beyond normal life and the dance of humanity. 

You simply can’t picture a figure of such evil ever engaging in normal activities—eating a cheese sandwich, stubbing his toe, giving himself a naff lockdown haircut, watching a DVD. However, the DVD in question says an awful lot about him. And no, he wasn’t revelling in the ways of fellow atrocity-man Stuart Little

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Back in 2008, the world’s most famous burger fanatic, Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me, made a documentary called Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? It was, after all, the question on everyone’s lips. Seemingly, Bin Laden was one of the handful of people aware of the answer to Spurlock’s question but he was also interested in asking it nevertheless.

The documentary comes with a simple synopsis: “Morgan Spurlock tours the Middle East to discuss the war on terror.” During the film, he interviews a range of people about Bin Laden, Islamic fundamentalism, the incursion of the West, concerns about his impending fatherhood, and plans to turn Tora Bora into an amusement park.

Ultimately, two things come to the fore on his journey—the everyday folks in the Middle East are simply ordinary people like those watching on (bar a few notable exceptions obviously), and that Bin Laden is surely hiding somewhere in the Pakistan area of Abbottabad near the Afghan border. In fact, Spurlock even considers a journey to a specific part of the region only to decide that it wasn’t worth the risk.

However, eerily, as he hypothesised, it was this very region where Bin Laden would later be found and assassinated three years after the release of the film. Whether it was this detail that brought it to the terrorist’s attention or the egomaniacal angle that he simply loved hearing about himself is hard to tell, but it is seemingly true that despicable zealots certainly have a penchant for seeing themselves depicted in the film.

Oddly, Adolf Hitler is also said to have watched himself depicted in Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator on two separate occasions. When Chaplin heard of this, he said: “I’d give anything to know what he thought of it.” I’m sure Spurlock asks the same thing now that his spine has hopefully stopped shuddering. And I guess, in a strange way, it is the oddest compliment any filmmaker has ever been paid.

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