By Kelly Wakefield
Anyone who hasn’t been living on a deserted island this week would have not avoided the news that Osama Bin Laden had been shot dead by US special forces near Abbottabad, Northern Pakistan on Monday. Since the story first broke, various versions of the events that happened have been released and the controversy over the release of the photo to prove Bin Laden’s death has stirred up more contention.
Geographies of militarism and militarisation have become more prominent in recent years as fresh perspectives on armed conflict, war and peace have increasingly been researched. 2011 as already seen conflict in heavily media covered stories in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria prior to Pakistan this week. Bernazzoli and Flint (2009) review the major contributions by geographers to studies of war and peace, interconnections between these bodies of literature and analyse the interacting process of militarisation and construction of place. These contributions ‘demonstrate that engagement with war, peace, and militarisation is certainly on the rise in geography’s manifold subfields, particularly political geography and critical and feminist geopolitics’ (Bernazzoli and Flint, 2009, p394).
The death of Bin Laden, after 10 years of being at the top of the US most wanted list, will no doubt have repurcussions for many years to come. Bernazzoli and Flint’s (2009) engagement with militarisation and the construction of place is important in this instance. Bin Laden’s body has been buried at sea and was done so as to not create a shrine in any one place, however, the Abbottabad compound in Pakistan may well become this space.
Bernazzoli, R and Flint, C (2009) ‘Power, Place, and Militarism: Toward a Comparative Geographic Analysis of Militarization‘, Geography Compass, Volume 3, Issue 1, p393-411.
BBC, 6th May 2011, ‘Osama Bin Laden ‘planned 9/11 anniversary train attack‘