The Return of the Infamous X-Men

This is not about Professor X, Wolverine and their mutant friends.

But these men wrecked havoc and terror that caused lives and properties more than what Magneto did and other mutants have combined.

Since the advent of my bumming in our school library and in my parents’ office library, I have been always fascinated with covers and front pages of various local and international broadsheets and magazines. In fact, it is my daily habit before starting a day’s work to browse and to look at various front pages and covers whether it be in print or in digital format. I consider it as an exceptional art and as a part of history as well.

I can still remember the front page and the head line of the 11 September 2001 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I can still recall the whole-page photo of Blessed John Paul II on the same broad sheet after his death and how they changed their logo from blue to yellow after the death of Cory Aquino. I can still remember a stern-looking Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Iron Lady?) and a versatile U2-frontman Bono (Will Bono Save the World?) on Time Magazine’s cover and comic geniuses Jose Marie Viceral (Vice Ganda) and Beethoven Del Valle Bunagan (Michael V.) gracing the cover of the annual humor issue of Reader’s Digest.

The above-mentioned examples are just few of the numerous covers that still remain in my memory and that made a mark on the history of print.

But there is one special and rare type (style or design) of cover that stands out and continuously fascinates my love for front pages and covers. It’s from the international magazine TIME.

It’s the iconic ‘X treatment’ scrawled across the face of an American enemy. It’s their famous ‘X’ Covers.

This is the fourth time that the magazine has put an X over the face of an infamous person for their cover. the first person to receive the treatment was the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler after the discovery of his body on May 2, 1945. The second one was Saddam Hussein after the capture of Iraq by the coalition forces (he will be captured 7 months later). And the last one before Bin Laden was Al Qaeda’s number three Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He was called as the “mastermind” of the insurgency in Iraq.

(Because of the red in Japan’s flag, they used a black cross instead. This was released after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima ang Nagasaki).

This special issue will be released on Thursday (in the United States).

Personally, I want this type of treatment for some of the infamous personalities in our country. Imagine how people will react upon seeing Ferdinand Marcos’ or Gloria Arroyo’s face marked with an ‘X’ in the front page of the Philippine Free Press or some major broadsheets and magazines.

Setting aside the reaction of loyalists and relatives and censorship, this may still seem to be an impossible dream. We have this culture of high respect and honor for the (dead) person no matter how infamous he was. Let’s just leave it there. Let’s go back to Osama bin Laden.

Osama Bin Laden is dead. It first spread like wildfire on Twitter and various social media (thank you technology). At first, I doubt the veracity of the reports. Remember during the capture and execution of Saddam Hussein? A local television network interviewed a Filipino who was a former worker at Saddam’s place and a local government official and they said that Saddam have ‘doubles’ that can act as a decoy. With Bin Laden’s face as common as any ordinary Arab that we see on TV, it may be true that Bin Laden also has doubles or decoys.

Osama Bin Laden is dead. Imagine how the United States, the most powerful nation equipped with latest military equipments and intelligence gathering, took almost 10 years to capture (and kill) the world’s most wanted terrorist. As my friend said, “It is not something that they should be too proud of.”

Osama Bin Laden is dead. Most of the world is now on full alert and governments warn their people for possible retaliation from his supporters. Some would say that his death may cause fear for other terrorists but I beg to disagree. These men are trained to do their task without fear and with their leader dead, I sense a possible new threat.

Remember the Abu Sayyaf? Remember how the sons and the next generation of fighters continue what their slain leaders and fathers have started? It is a continuing battle, an endless struggle.

Watching the local news earlier yesterday, I saw a comment from a viewer that the US is responsible for making Osama Bin Laden. He said that decades of oppression against Muslims and domineering foreign policy will create more Bin Ladens in the future. I am no expert on history and foreign policy so I will say that he may be right.

Going back here in the Philippines, I see the same problem in the rebels in the south and insurgents in the mountains. As long as there is an unjust distribution of goods and resources, as long  there are farmers without lands, as long as there is oppression and exploitation, the threat will continue.

Let us look into the bigger picture of rebellion and insurgency.

And with terrorism, I do not blame our Muslim brothers. I firmly believe that Islam is a Religion of peace. And any act of terrorism, in my opinion, is against the Islam.

Osama Bin Laden is dead. What’s next? Is this the end or is just the beginning? Is this the end for Al Qaeda or is it just a beginning of a bigger attack? I don’t know.

If we can only have Professor X, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Storm and other Mutants to help us. But it’s impossible.

Let’s just continue to be vigilant and pray for peace.

And I hope that Osama Bin Laden will be the last “X-Men” to be featured on the cover of Time Magazine.

One thought on “The Return of the Infamous X-Men

  1. Pingback: Headline of the Day « Juan Republic

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