The old lady and the child

Of the dozens of stories that I have heard from the neighbors of the compound that was attacked in Abbottabad, this is the one that keeps resurfacing in my mind.

The old lady’s family moved to Bilal Town five or six years ago. She told me that in all those years, she never encountered any woman or child from the group living in the compound – until the day she met the small boy in 2011.

The people (or families) living in the compound did not buy fresh milk themselves, but asked the milkman to leave it in a neighboring house. From the neighboring house, one of the two men that did all the shopping would pick up the milk bucket and take it inside the compound. One day, the lady was visiting the house where the milk was delivered, where she saw a seven or eight year old boy trying to pick up the milk bucket. She recalled that the boy was ‘tiny and beautiful’. She asked him (in Pashto) what he was trying to do, he told her that he was there to fetch the milk. She asked him if he could lift the bucket. The boy told her that it was too heavy. The seventy or so year old lady picked the bucket of milk and helped the child carry it to the gate of the compound. After telling me this story, she started a monologue, wondering what might have happened to the boy who no different than her own grandchildren, and hoping that he was alright.

I don’t know if the child was Osama’s son or even related to him, but for her sake, I too hope that the boy was amongst the children that were found outside the compound, hands bound, after the raid. I hope that the stateless boy is not exploited by the governments, madrasas, social workers or other types of vultures that are trying to benefit from his misfortune. I hope that in the years to come, the child is not punished just because of his association with Osama Bin Laden – and I hope that he grows up to be a normal human being – as normal as possible given the unusual circumstances that he had to live through during the first seven years of his existence.

22 thoughts on “The old lady and the child”

  1. Touching story and I share your concern for the kid. Wars are a terrible thing, especially for the innocent and for innocence.

  2. As the father of a 7 year old boy this breaks my heart… Hope he is ok… We are forcing our children to grow up in a world filled with hate, we need to radically restructure our world because it’s clear were destroying ourselves….

  3. Highly doubtful. Im sure the child has been conditioned since birth to hate Americans as well as non muslims. I have a 2 year old son and im sure what that boy was taught growing up is more than likely exactly the opposite of what I hope to teach my son. Sadly, this is thw way the world goes and I dont see any signs of it changing.

  4. Thanks for your continued perspective. Wishing the same for this and all children involved.

  5. Like you & everyone leaving comments, I pray this child is not exploited nor made to bear the burden of the sins of the father, whether it be Bin Laden or one of the associates.

    The visual of this young boy & the old woman brought tears to my eyes…I like to think, the old woman’s act of kindness showed this child, there really are kind people in this world without a motive other than to help carry a heavy load when it’s too much to carry alone.

  6. Thanks for this story and your other writing. I am touched by your stories and insight. Thanks for sharing with us. We are one people, just wanting some place to enjoy a good cup and our family. Good luck to you and your coffee shop.

  7. What ever the world brings to this boy now I’m sure is better than what he had.

  8. Ather,

    What do you have to say about Alex Jones? He is convinced that Osama was not there. He died several years ago.

    He is presenting a completely different perspective.

    His websites are and


    I am not sure you have things in perspective.

    Muslims cannot hate ALL Americans, that’s logically impossible, since there are millions of American Muslims. 🙂

    Okay on a serious note;

    The same way most Non Muslim Americans children are taught that All Muslims are terrorists. Islam synonymous with Osama and likes of him. (Here I am using the person Osama who you define as a terrorist. Islam does not allow any Muslim to be like that We have no REAL idea who he was or is beacause he used to be CIA agent.)

    All info you have about us Muslims is from you Media who cannot stop projecting as the baddest people on earth for some obvious reasons.

    Also, Muslims cannot teach their Children to hate non Muslims because that not what be are allowed by the Quran.

    We are taught that Non Muslims are our brothers and sisters in humanity.

    If some Muslims hate some Non Muslims that’s because of actions of some non Muslims.

    Let’s stop the hate and educate ourselves about each other be researching and not watching and reading the same people that we always do.

  9. Great post, Mr. Athar. I enjoy reading what you write because you have a keen ability to touch on the compassionate side and remain seemingly neutral toward all the “sides” at play here.
    On a positive note, I am hoping that their days of living in isolation are overwith, because that is not a healthy way for children to be raised. But my heart breaks for these kids, especially those that might have witnessed the violence. These children will have instant celebrity status just by their proximity to OBL. This boy already has his first blog post written about him. I’m sure a few Hollywood exploit teams are trying to make their way to those families as we speak. 🙁

  10. I hope that little boy is well and happy. Thanks for telling the story. I hope your world has calmed a bit, I think we’re in the 16th minute now, finally?

  11. Thank you again for keeping us informed with the story. I lived in the U.S. for the last 29 years of my live, two of my children where born here, and one in Mexico. I have both cultures. I lived in London, Madrid, and France. I have a view of the world different that people have never been out of the U.S. I am a compassionate loving mother and I feel for this incident that happen to a family. I jut never agree they way President Obama gave orders, they could it keep the guy alive and be judge by an international trail. I am sorry to hear this about the kid, my heart is with this innocents children. I hope they are treated like children and let this family go to the countries of origins and maybe be raised in a loving muslin family.

  12. When conflicts are over it’s time to forgive. I hold no ill will towards this child. I hope he grows up in a different world than he was being raised in.

    @Umair – I am a non-Muslim American and was raised as a Christian. I was never taught to hate Muslims and I don’t know anybody who was.

    I wasn’t even taught that all Muslims are my enemy, but if I had been I was also taught to “love my enemies” just as Jesus said.

    1. @ThirstyJon

      I agree, not all American Non Muslims are taught to Hate Muslims but unfortunately US and Western Mainstream Media is working hard 24/7/365 towards that.

      I really hope Americans research about Islam from original sources and not some people who are war mongers and only carry hate for others.

  13. I read “Growing Up Bin Laden” by Omar Bin Laden and his mother.
    Omar rejected his father’s ways and works for peace. Maybe this son will do the
    same. May God bless him & all child victims of terror.

  14. Hi!

    I was reading a article that you were mentioned in due to your liveblogging of the Osama raid ( As an American high school student with only marginal knowledge of Mid Eastern affairs, I found your tweets quite interesting. While reading, however, a few questions popped in to my head, and it would be awesome if you could answer them. First, how many followers did you have before hand? I don’t have a twitter, so I’m not really knowledgeable about what the numbers mean, but I imagine you experienced quite the jump from before the raid to after. My other question is ‘have your tweets changed?’ I didn’t have time to read too far back into your tweets, but has the new fanbase changed your tweeting habits? I see now that you have many tweets regarding the political landscape of Pakistan, and even throughout your May 1 + 2 tweets I noticed a hint of that, but did this platform exist before? As I understand it, a lot of tweeters would happily tweet ‘going to lunch,’ or ‘just got a haircut’ as the entirety of their communication.

    If you respond, I’d be very grateful, and I appreciate you taking the time to read this. Congratulations on the fame thrust upon you, as you were the first person to be sharing info about this operation.

    Take care,

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