“I Never Loved Osama Bin Laden”
Egyptian-Sudanese-American novelist Kola Boof responds to reports that she chose to have a love affair with her rapist Osama Bin Laden.
By Kola Boof
It’s flattering that supermodel Naomi Campbell wants to play me in a movie. When filmmakers Abhisek Sharma, Andrew Malakhov and other representatives of Ms. Campbell contacted me in 2012 about turning my unfortunate relationship with Somi (known to you and the world as terrorist Osama Bin Laden) into a film—they immediately promised that a film would finally put to rest the fictional Kola “in love with her rapist” that many people have invented in their own minds. I don’t know if the film will ever get made, an American studio has demonstrated Hollywood’s hatred of black women by approaching Indian actress Frieda Pinto to play me in something titled “Bin Laden and the Sex Slave”. So naturally, I cringe when I hear people, especially Press people, referring to me as “a side-chick Ho…who….willingly stayed with her rapist.”
This demonizing of Black women who’ve been raped seems to have historical roots for Americans and ancient roots for Africans. Not too long ago CBS-TV aired a mini-series that showed an adult slave, Sally Hemmings, whisked away to Paris where she fell madly in love with President Thomas Jefferson. But in real life, Hemmings had her first baby by President Jefferson when she was only twelve years old. He was in his fifties. She had six more kids by Jefferson before she was nineteen. With a little further research, I found that the average Black American woman during slave times experienced her first rape around the ages of nine or ten. Not only did these women not own their bodies—they were usually indoctrinated to slave rape culture as small children. No one protected them. It was hardly the sweeping love affair that Black women are so often accused of enjoying when in fact…hell was session.
In Sudan, my birthplace, Southern Dinka women who’ve been captured, enslaved and raped by Northern Arab soldiers are automatically shunned and rejected by their husbands, children and tribe. Beaten with sticks, these women are turned away to wander alone in the wilderness ever broken and paying for something they had no control over.
I find myself in that place now. Black American men in particular love to avoid whatever we’re debating by claiming I’m a “sell-out Black whore getting rich off my White Arab.” One Black woman journalist (Nsenga Burton writing for ‘The Root’) took excerpts from my autobiography where I described Osama as handsome (before he raped me) and inferred that I desired the rape and that I fell in love with Somi the six months he held me captive at La Maison Arabe. But I never loved Osama. What I did was survive Osama. And being in the Arab world, I had only two choices—die or put out. Why do I call him “Somi” if I wasn’t in love? I call him that because until Americans told me his name was Osama Bin Laden—I had known him only as Somi. He wasn’t famous when I knew him back in 1996; he was just another rich married gang-banging Arab who liked hunting in Dahkla and kidnapping and sleeping with starlets.
I had to pretend to love Osama; to cater to his every whim. But I never loved him. I pitied him. And because I am a highly intelligent woman; I recognized his genius; I was riveted by his quiet sensitivity (he was not a loud person; like me he was extremely thoughtful and methodical; a driven fellow Pisces). I appreciated his poetry. I recorded him with my intellect as a fully rounded human being, because that’s what a writer does—whether it’s Hitler or Whoopi Goldberg—we look deeper. But I also experienced him as a rapist, a woman-beater and a mass murderer. I never loved him.
Who I loved was Simon Palacio, father of my two sons, a Black man—my husband of ten years; now ex-husband. I have also been engaged to the Harlem legal activist and former Al Sharpton bodyguard Posr A Posr—a Black man—and been romantically entangled with several famous Black men. Have I loved men who were not Black—absolutely! My new husband Jason Appelbaum is White and Jewish. But please do not tell the lie that Black men haven’t had first dibs on Kola Boof.
Let me also point out that while Black American men consider Mariah Carey a Black woman and call Bin Laden “an Arab”—Osama was Black by African-American standards. He had more black blood than Mariah Carey does. So when they say that an Egyptian-Sudanese woman (half Arab myself) sold out by sleeping with Osama Bin Laden; I don’t know what the hell they mean. Osama was Blacker than the President of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, if Black Americans really want to go there.
More than all that—I am an award winning novelist and poet; your own legendary Professor Derrick Bell describes my latest novel “The Sexy Part of the Bible” as quote: “…the most original and socially relevant novel since Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.” The Boston Globe, Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist have all given “The Sexy Part of the Bible” 5-star reviews. Obviously, I am more than someone’s ex jump-off. Yet there remains this snobbish dismissal. Academics; the media; rap stars—they all keep insisting on their own fictional Kola Boof. From Nsenga Burton to Sheryl Solomon to Troy Johnson, Tommy Sotomayor, Dr. Goddess and The Root tabloid…these low rent Negro journalists who’ve never even met me consistently lie on and slander me just like they did their slave mothers. It isn’t fair.
I am a beautiful and talented African woman. I am adopted and raised by Black Americans. It’s your people that gave me my strong opinions; my fiery voice—you should be proud to call Kola Boof daughter. Either way I’m here to stay. I’m made of very stronger stuff than most of you. Please stop making up outrageous stories about me and misrepresenting who I am and what I’m about.
Kola Boof’s autobiography “Diary of a Lost Girl” details her entire life including 90 pages on living with Osama Bin Laden.
Link to book: