Bin Laden’s death: international responses

Hamas condemns the “killing of an Arab holy warrior”.

You can watch Barack Obama's statement on the death of Osama Bin Laden here. I've collected some more responses from governments and leaders below. Most remarkable is the disgraceful statement from Hamas, which condemns the killing of an "Arab holy warrior".

Hamas, which has never aligned itself with al-Qaeda in the past, will struggle to convince the west that it is now a legitimate "partner for peace".

Pakistan's foreign ministry: "In an intelligence-driven operation, Osama Bin Laden was killed in the surroundings of Abbottabad in the early hours of this morning. This operation was conducted by the US forces in accordance with declared US policy that Osama Bin Laden will be eliminated in a direct action by the US forces, wherever found in the world.

"Earlier today, President Obama telephoned President Zardari on the successful US operation which resulted in killing of Osama Bin Laden.

"Osama Bin Laden's death illustrates the resolve of the international community including Pakistan to fight and eliminate terrorism. It constitutes a huge setback to terrorist organisations around the world.

"Al-Qaeda had declared war on Pakistan. Scores of al-Qaeda-sponsored terrorist attacks resulted in deaths of thousands of innocent Pakistani men, women and children. Almost 30,000 Pakistani civilians lost their lives in terrorist attacks in the last few years. More than 5,000 Pakistani security and armed forces officials have been martyred in Pakistan's campaign against al-Qaeda, other terrorist organisations and affiliates.

"Pakistan has played a significant role in efforts to eliminate terrorism. We have had extremely effective intelligence-sharing arrangements with several intelligence agencies, including that of the US. We will continue to support international efforts against terrorism.

"It is Pakistan's stated policy that it will not allow its soil to be used in terrorist attacks against any country. Pakistan's political leadership, parliament, state institutions and the whole nation are fully united in their resolve to eliminate terrorism."

Hamas: "We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood . . . we condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs."

Palestinian Authority: "Getting rid of Bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods – the violent methods – that were created and encouraged by Bin Laden and others in the world."

Hamid Karzai: "The American forces yesterday killed Osama Bin Laden and made him pay for his deeds, in Abbottabad city of Pakistan, close to Islamabad. He was made to pay for his actions."

David Cameron: "The news that Osama Bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world. Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen – for 9/11 and for so many attacks, which have cost thousands of lives, many of them British. It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror.

"This is a time to remember all those murdered by Osama Bin Laden, and all those who lost loved ones. It is also a time . . . to thank all those who work round the clock to keep us safe from terrorism. Their work will continue. I congratulate President Obama and those responsible for carrying out this operation."

Nick Clegg: "There will be a great sense of relief today that Osama Bin Laden, a man who wrought so much destruction and who spread such a vile, hate-filled ideology, can no longer do so.

"This successful US operation is a major step forward and a serious blow to al-Qaeda but it does not mean that the struggle against terrorism is over. We will all need to continue to be as vigilant as ever in the fight against terrorism.

"At this time our thoughts go out to all of those in the UK and other countries who have suffered, directly and indirectly, from the violence that Bin Laden inflicted on the world."

Tony Blair: "My heartfelt gratitude to President Obama and to all of those who so brilliantly undertook and executed this operation.

"We should never forget 9/11 was also the worst ever terrorist attack against UK civilians, and our thoughts are with all those – American, British and from nations across the world – who lost their lives and with their loved ones who remain and who live with their loss.

"9/11 was an attack not just on the United States, but on all those who shared the best values of civilisation.

"The operation shows those who commit acts of terror against the innocent will be brought to justice, however long it takes.

"So this is a huge achievement in the fight against terrorism but we know the fight against the terrorism and the ideology that Bin Laden represents continues and is as urgent as ever."

George W Bush: "Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude.

"This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on 11 September 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: no matter how long it takes, justice will be done."

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
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Leaving the cleaning to someone else makes you happier? Men have known that for centuries

Research says avoiding housework is good for wellbeing, but women have rarely had the option.

If you want to be happy, there is apparently a trick: offload the shitwork onto somebody else. Hire cleaner. Get your groceries delivered. Have someone else launder your sheets. These are the findings published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, but it’s also been the foundation of our economy since before we had economics. Who does the offloading? Men. Who does the shitwork? Women.

Over the last 40 years, female employment has risen to almost match the male rate, but inside the home, labour sticks stubbornly to old patterns: men self-report doing eight hours of housework a week, while women slog away for 13. When it comes to caring for family members, the difference is even more stark: men do ten hours, and women 23.

For your average heterosexual couple with kids, that means women spend 18 extra hours every week going to the shops, doing the laundry, laying out uniform, doing the school run, loading dishwashers, organising doctors' appointments, going to baby groups, picking things up, cooking meals, applying for tax credits, checking in on elderly parents, scrubbing pots, washing floors, combing out nits, dusting, folding laundry, etcetera etcetera et-tedious-cetera.

Split down the middle, that’s nine hours of unpaid work that men just sit back and let women take on. It’s not that men don’t need to eat, or that they don’t feel the cold cringe of horror when bare foot meets dropped food on a sticky kitchen floor. As Katrine Marçal pointed out in Who Cooked Adam Smiths Dinner?, men’s participation in the labour market has always relied on a woman in the background to service his needs. As far as the majority of men are concerned, domestic work is Someone Else’s Problem.

And though one of the study authors expressed surprise at how few people spend their money on time-saving services given the substantial effect on happiness, it surely isn’t that mysterious. The male half of the population has the option to recruit a wife or girlfriend who’ll do all this for free, while the female half faces harsh judgement for bringing cover in. Got a cleaner? Shouldn’t you be doing it yourself rather than outsourcing it to another woman? The fact that men have even more definitively shrugged off the housework gets little notice. Dirt apparently belongs to girls.

From infancy up, chores are coded pink. Looking on the Toys “R” Us website, I see you can buy a Disney Princess My First Kitchen (fuchsia, of course), which is one in the eye for royal privilege. Suck it up, Snow White: you don’t get out of the housekeeping just because your prince has come. Shop the blue aisle and you’ll find the Just Like Home Workshop Deluxe Carry Case Workbench – and this, precisely, is the difference between masculine and feminine work. Masculine work is productive: it makes something, and that something is valuable. Feminine work is reproductive: a cleaned toilet doesn’t stay clean, the used plates stack up in the sink.

The worst part of this con is that women are presumed to take on the shitwork because we want to. Because our natures dictate that there is a satisfaction in wiping an arse with a woman’s hand that men could never feel and money could never match. That fiction is used to justify not only women picking up the slack at home, but also employers paying less for what is seen as traditional “women’s work” – the caring, cleaning roles.

It took a six-year legal battle to secure compensation for the women Birmingham council underpaid for care work over decades. “Don’t get me wrong, the men do work hard, but we did work hard,” said one of the women who brought the action. “And I couldn’t see a lot of them doing what we do. Would they empty a commode, wash somebody down covered in mess, go into a house full of maggots and clean it up? But I’ll tell you what, I would have gone and done a dustman’s job for the day.”

If women are paid less, they’re more financially dependent on the men they live with. If you’re financially dependent, you can’t walk out over your unfair housework burden. No wonder the settlement of shitwork has been so hard to budge. The dream, of course, is that one day men will sack up and start to look after themselves and their own children. Till then, of course women should buy happiness if they can. There’s no guilt in hiring a cleaner – housework is work, so why shouldn’t someone get paid for it? One proviso: every week, spend just a little of the time you’ve purchased plotting how you’ll overthrow patriarchy for good.

Sarah Ditum is a journalist who writes regularly for the Guardian, New Statesman and others. Her website is here.