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Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?

(2008)
Yeah, Im a little late to the party with this one, but Ive enjoyed the other Morgan
Spurlock movies Ive seen, and was watching it mostly for that.
Here Spurlock travels to the most dangerous parts of the world (especially five
years ago), in theory looking for Osama but in actuality wanting to explore and gets
some answers in a region where people seem to hate America so much. The reason
he provides for this is that he wants to understand the world so he can protect his
soon-to-be-born son, and he does tie in his adventures with his wifes pregnancy,
but underneath it he wants answers, and knowledge, and unlike the president of
the time, he wants to share that knowledge with his countrymen.
Spurlock travels to Egypt (still under Mubarak at that time), Israel, Palestine,
Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. He starts to make his way into Pakistan, but
thats where he draws the line and returns home (staring at a sign by the road that
warns that foreigners entering the area will be killed); along the way he talks
mostly to working class people (through an interpreter, of course) and receives
some surprising and not so surprising answers. Turns out most people around
the world deplore violence, which Im sure Spurlock knew very well going into this.
Some of the folks he talks to hate both the US and Al Qaeda; most say they have
no issue with the American people, its their leadership they hate (a sentiment, with
Bush in charge, I can wholly sympathize with).
But you also get to see a little of the crushing poverty and lack of freedom most
people in these regions have to deal with as a daily fact of life. For those who
complain how bad we have it here (and America is not a paradise for all), some of
these people are living in abject desolation. Even in Saudi Arabia, where financial
conditions are a little better, you see how little freedom of thought they are
allowed; the church is the state, and so not agreeing with the majority religion is
illegal. Morgan is allowed to talk to two seniors in high school, but their teacher and
principal look on the entire time. The boys say nothing of substance, constantly
eyeing their teachers, and when Morgan asks their opinions on Israel, the interview
is terminated. Most surprising to an American audience, I would suspect, is not that
he is treated so hospitably by so many people wherever he goes, but that the worst
treatment he receives is from the Orthodox Jews; they are the only ones who resort
to physical violence (he is shoved repeatedly, until police intervene) and told in no
uncertain terms to leave; one man even prevents him from returning to his vehicle.
Im not going to debate the politics of Israel here as I am hardly qualified and they
are inordinately complicated; but it was an eye-opener for me.
Though five years old, this video is still timely given the current events in Egpyt and
Syria (and with the Israelis and Palestinians). Spurlock manages to keep the tone
light as much as he can, but the video gets more worrying as he goes along, and
while enlightening and educational, is also a little jarring. Spurlock ends the movie
smartly with an affirmation of life his son is born a much needed uplift after the

darkening subject matter toward the end. This is a masterfully made film that will
open most peoples eyes about the Middle East, its people and their attitudes
toward terror and toward us, served, as the old song goes, with a spoonful of sugar
to help the medicine go down. In my school of life Id consider it required viewing.
September 4, 2013