The #UBLRaid Tweets: An Exercise in Grandstanding & Glorification


The #UBLRaid Tweets: An Exercise in Grandstanding & Glorification

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré


s I write this, the CIA is live-tweeting the operation on “Usama Bin Ladin” [sic]. Before this minute-by-minute (ish), blow-by-blow event on Twitter played out, I believed the CIA to be this imaginary entity, dreamt up entirely by Hollywood blockbuster film screenwriters, and inspired by our very own Bharat Mata Ki Jai CID. I thought they mostly fought aliens on behalf of the whole world. It was enlightening to know that it’s a real organisation, with a blue tick and everything.

“To mark the 5th anniversary of the Usama Bin Ladin operation in Abbottabad we will tweet the raid as if it were happening today #UBLRaid”, went the first tweet. From there on the saga began. Names like POTUS, DCIA Panetta, and JSOC commander Admiral McRaven (has there ever been a more American name?) were thrown at us with approved execution times (1.25 PM EDT, in case you were wondering) and soldiers got ready for combat. Some did sock-shoe-sock-shoe; others did sock-sock-shoe-shoe. Then they got into their helicopters, all-American destruction machines with cheeseburgers, cheerleaders, and capitalism hanging off the sides.