When Omar bin Laden was about to be born, his father got so excited that he lost his keys. When he finally found them after a frantic search, he tore to the hospital at reckless speed in his brand new golden Mercedes. It’s hard for Omar to imagine the scene, he writes in Growing Up bin Laden, which is excerpted by Vanity Fair; his father wasn’t always a terrorist, but he was never an emotional man, and despite Omar’s best attempts, he never bestowed affection on his children.
He carried a heavy wooden cane, and would beat his sons for the slightest misstep. Osama kept his family as "virtual prisoners" out of fears they would be kidnapped by opponents. "My brothers and I would spend many long hours staring out the apartment windows, longing to join the many children we saw playing on the sidewalks, riding their bikes or skipping rope." Despite it all, Omar worshiped his father, "whom I believed to be not only the most brilliant but also the tallest man in the world." Even now “I cannot simply order my heart to stop loving him,” though he is “truly sorry for all the terrible things that have happened.”