Being Scottish, William Wallace was my hero long before Hollywood made millions from his story; I was captivated learning about his endeavors in secondary History, Braveheart came out while I was learning about that period of Scottish history, so it rocked my world. I watched it again the night before last when all my research into Islamic extremism enlightened me to a new angle: Osama Bin Laden is comparable to William Wallace, shocked and appalled? Wait until you read this!

By Liam Bailey

The first similarity between Sir William Wallace and Osama Bin Laden is: both were angered by an occupation of their homeland/foreign rule. Osama was angry at the UN/US deployment in Saudi Arabia to fight Iraq’s Kuwait invasion, becoming a permanent US force after Kuwait had been retaken. The English ruling Scotland angered Sir William Wallace; he wanted freedom. The English ruled Scotland in the 13th century by fear, and cruel abuses of power like the law of First Night (Prima Nocta): If English soldiers came across a wedding, they could take the bride from the settlement and the Earl or Lord took first conjugal rights with the bride, by force if necessary. In other words rape, lawful by order of the King of England: Edward “Longshanks” Plantagenet I. My understanding is that this law wasn’t commonly enforced, it seems many of England’s Lord’s didn’t have the strong stomach of their king, but happening even a few times, with all the other cruel laws and unnecessary beatings was enough, as you’ll understand to cause massive un-rest, anger, and determination among the Scots.

Son of a minor Scottish lord, Sir William Wallace, educated and rebellious was named an outlaw in 1292 for killing an important Englishman.  His family went to live with one uncle, who couldn’t shelter William because word of his murder had spread, so William went to live with another of his uncles. It was William killing a garrison of English soldiers, when they tried to take away the fish he had caught, that forced him to do something else comparable to Osama Bin Laden. Evading capture by hiding in the mountains and hills of the Scottish borders, it is widely believed that Osama Bin Laden is hiding somewhere in the hills on Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan.

From the hills Wallace’s actions and abilities share more similarities with Osama. Osama Bin Laden makes many young Muslim’s want, not only to fight but also to give their life for the cause with excellent propaganda techniques, i.e. showing videos of occupied Islamic countries and the oppression of the Muslims by the occupier, then on the same video showing Islamic extremist terrorism in action, for instance showing oppression of Muslims by the Russians in Chechnya, then an ambush of a Russian tank in Chechnya and the brutal murder of all the Russian soldiers. Sir William Wallace shared the ability to make people want to give their life for his cause, though through different and much more worthy reasons. Tales of Wallace killing the Englishman and a Garrison single-handed had spread giving him a small early following, with this small following he did something else that Osama Bin Laden is well known for: Terrorism/insurgent warfare. With only a few men, William Wallace began killing as many English as he could without going to battle, largely by ambushing Garrison’s, set up to investigate a possible crime for instance, or lured by a sighting of Wallace, who they would chase into the waiting ambush, very similar to Al-Qaeda tactics for insurgent warfare.  William Wallace grew in notoriety with every soldier or Englishman he killed and his following grew rapidly, just as Osama’s following has grown rapidly since the 80’s.

So, there you have it five strange but true similarities between a great Scottish hero and a figurehead of Islamic extremism. This blog was written in good fun, as I said William Wallace has been a hero of mine since studying history in secondary school, and the additional research I have done for this blog has only strengthened his hero image in my mind, so fellow Scot’s, please don’t take offence.

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  1. Jay said,

    August 29, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Heroes and villains are the same people. It is always a matter of perspective. Viriatus and Spartacus were villains to the Romans and heroes to their followers. Napoleon was a hero to the republicans of Europe and a villain to the monarchs there. Hitler was a villain to the allies and a saviour to the Nazis.
    Local political propaganda generally dominates the minds of the locals and they become unable to think logically and objectively. The end result is blind followers for or against a cause that almost always is detrimental to the followers in both camps.

  2. stu said,

    March 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    to compare william wallace with osama bin laden is proposterous.
    you didnt mention the fact that berwick once was one of scotlands
    biggest towns and edward longshanks sent an army up there and rape and pillaged and sacked and slaughtered thosands of men women and children.
    and that was a warning to what would happen to the rest of scotland if they didnt kneel to u could compare edward 1st to hitler then could u not.

    • Wiliam SAtewart said,

      February 26, 2011 at 4:46 am

      You have sullied your trousers by this association. You have exploited a national hero. Do the honorable thing……………………..renounce!

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