Monday, May 2, 2011

On Osama

I feel like I'm the only one in the world who is not happy that Osama bin Laden has been tracked down and killed. Well, I'm not entirely alone. I'm pretty sure there are some terrorists around the world who are sad. Not al Qaeda, though, because they claim he is not dead. Duh. He's dead. There is absolutely no way Obama would risk announcing Osama's death if he wasn't sure it was true. Pending a zombie invasion, Osama is as dead as a doornail.

Then why am I not happy? Did I naively hope the US soldiers would capture bin Laden and put him on trial? Hah! No. That would never have happened. And I'm not sure I'd have wanted it to. But I think I'd liked to have lived in a world where that at least was a possibility.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not sad that Osama bin Laden is dead. He was one of this world's fanatics, so involved in his own loony cause that he observed absolutely no respect for human life. Osama's world must have been a black and white one, where most of the patches were very, very black. The things he was willing to do, and capable of making others do, are really, truly horrible. I hate - HATE - the things he did.

Despite this, I am not sure his death is a good thing. There are two reasons I am not celebrating. First, I don't like the fact that the world has come to this - celebration of someone's death, regardless of who it is. People I have the utmost respect for, Americans and non-Americans, people I usually agree with (politically and otherwise), and people I don't usually agree with - they all seem to have no problem being happy about this death. It saddens me that Osama has done that to them - created hate in them. I understand it - a part of me feel like celebrating too - but I don't like it. To me, Osama is still spreading terror by making the hate many of us felt for him blossom into celebrations at his death.

Secondly, and far more important, I don't think there is very much to celebrate. Sure, he got what was coming. Had he been captured and put on trial, he would still have been sentenced to death. Punished. Since I am no fan of torture, there isn't any sentence I could have suggested that would have been more appropriate. I am no fan of the death penalty either, but even I would have had to accept that this was the only possible solution in this particular case. Still, I'm not so sure Osama's death - one way or other - will help. Sure, the families of those who died on 9/11 and several other terror actions the last decades might feel some consolation. They deserve that. But - will this put an end to future terror actions, an end to the future grief of families? I am afraid that it will not.

The experts are in disagreement, and none seem sure. This might lead to violent responses. Retaliation is likely. The war on terror is not won yet. In a long-term perspective this could mean a more peaceful world.

I hope the latter is the case. If this - in any perspective - leads to the end of terrorism, the end of the war in Afghanistan, a more peaceful world; then I'm out there celebrating with you. If it does, I'd gladly have killed him myself. But I am not so optimistic. Osama was not alone. Until yesterday the terrorists had a leader in hiding, somewhere, in a cave (which turned out to be a mansion). Today they have a martyr killed by the enemy.

Thus I'm not so sure the world is a better place today than it was yesterday.












And yes, I am aware that you probably don't agree with me in this. As I said, it seems the entire world disagrees. Whether you think I am naive, stupid, "just not American", wrong, misguided, or even despicable/evil/terrorist-friendly; you are entitled to disagree with me. You might even be right. I just think it will be a while before we know for sure the effect this will have had, and I guess I am saving my celebration until I know if this really means a better world.

27 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

I do agree with you. Bin Laden's death has made him a martyr and the other factions will surely retaliate. This war in not over, not by a long shot.

Stephanie V said...

I'm with you on that sharp-edged fence. Who knows what will happen in the coming days? No one. And celebration seems not quite the right response. Cautious optimism, maybe.

Marjorie said...

I can't help but be happy such a horrendous murderer has been brought to justice. On the other hand I too feel a sense of guilt upon feeling this way about a fellow human being no matter how evil. I feel that I SHOULD be slightly sad that it had to come to this. After all, to me, the definition of evil is the dehumanization of people. Under that definition Osama was the epitome of evil. Like you said the world he lived in was VERY black with little white. He believed that the black spots must be purged into his idea of purity. People were not people but evil doers who should be dead. So he looked at us the way we looked at him. Is that not also a dehumanization? And SHOULD we feel guilty for being happy he is dead? Would being neither happy or sad be any better? These are all questions we should ask ourselves. We also should be expecting retaliation of some sort. I feel that everyone should get out of those regions and stop giving money to those countries that do nothing to prevent the killing of others. If every country in the world did that there would be far fewer problems.

Tundiel said...

Very well said. And I have to say, I agree with you.

Nope, there's nothing else I can add to that.

E. Elle said...

Beautifully said. I agree completely. It's easy to get swallowed up in the celebration, and we do have to accept being looked at in an unkindly light for our beliefs, but stand strong. You're not alone. And whatever's going to come of this is going to come.

I'm going to hope and pray for good.

Really excellent post, dear.

LL Cool Joe said...

You have more people agreeing with you than you thought, because I agree too.

TheyCallMeVarmit said...

With Osama, I feel he was one that needed his head pinched off at birth, but I also feel that while not every death should be mourned, no death should be celebrated. Acknowleged, but never celebrated.

And yeah, now he's a matyr. If they're going to kill him, I would rather they had done so quietly. We would have had the same result minus the matyrdom.

Pat Tillett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat Tillett said...

I'm straddling the fence on this one. I'm glad he's dead. I would gladly have been the one to put a bullet in his head. BUT....
I don't see the need to celebrate. A more somber reaction at ground zero would have been more appropriate.

Nicole MacDonald said...

I'm glad he's dead but they should have done it quietly. Focusing on something nasty only gives it more strength.
Re-edited vsn of The Arrival now up and just .99c for May ONLY

Cruella Collett said...

Why is it that whenever I think I'm about to drop a real bomb of controversy everyone suddenly agrees with me? ;) Well, sort of, anyway.

Glad to see all of you voicing your opinions on this! Regardless of how we feel about it, it's an important topic in our time.

LTM said...

we're not really celebrating at my house either. It's really more a sober day for us--a day of remembering what happened, a day of being accepting that justice was served. It's more sad that this one person was able to lead a band to kill so many--as many as 100K Muslims died because of him.

It's not a celebration, but I do think this is the best possible outcome. :o\ <3

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I think there will be more attacks around the world so extra alerts will have to be paramount.

Yvonne.

Angela Felsted said...

I hear you.

M.J. Nicholls said...

I could disagree, but your argument is dead-on. (Pun intended). When I saw the news this morning I mis-read his name as Barack Obama. I almost had a seizure.

Jules said...

I SO agree with you, violence only begets violence and besides we now have achieved stooping to his level of sneaky attacks in the dark.

I'm just afraid this was his plan to put some wild terrorist thing into action.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

The Words Crafter said...

I too, agree. We have no idea what kind of retaliation may or may not occur. Or what new fanatic might take his place...think about it.

Somewhere, it's written that we should not take joy in the fall of another, lest we be next to fall. I would never celebrate a death, not even of this terrorist.

It should be a time of somber reflection and introspection.

You bring up some interesting and valid points and bravo for posting them!

Tammie said...

i completely agree with you.

ive been avoiding facebook because when i got on last night all of the celebrating gave me an icky feeling.

Jan Morrison said...

I guess you aren't so alone in this thought, after all! I do not celebrate anyone's death and I do not like the shiftiness of having him disposed so quickly though I can get some of the reasons. Like you, I'm sad that the world is such that we should rejoice at anyone's death without trial.
not good.

sue said...

I found the rejoicing very distasteful, it dehumanises us.

He was a figurehead; misguided and evil, but the deeper question is HOW did that come about, and how can we contribute in our own small ways to a world where tolerance for difference is acceptable? I suspect sound educational programmes in ALL countries for ALL children (including girls) is one key, and assisting (financially and with person power) those in poorer nations to have access to education would be a good start, rather than divisive 'them and us' meanness. (sorry for the rant, but it's so easy to criticise as if we're 'better' but refuse to look at how we can build bridges of support)

I've said it before and it's worth saying again. Your measured, insightful posts are a pleasure to read. Thankyou Mari for having the courage to say what needed to be said. Sue

Astrid said...

I also agree with what you said. Seeing the people celebrating in the streets of the US yesterday made me sad. No matter how full of hatred he was, we shouldn't celebrate any human beings death. It is a good thing that he is not around to lead anymore, but the massive congregations? Recognise it, and move on.

Only thing I disagree with is that we haven't come to this, we've always been like this. I just hoped that we've come further than this in this day and age. Apparantly not.

Great post.

ViolaNut said...

I'm not celebrating. Pleased, yeah, I have to admit I am (I'm Sicilian, vengeance goes with the territory), but celebrating? Hardly. Contemplating, yes; curious (on the how'd-they-finally-find-him front), yes; I've even found some people's comments quite amusing (the one about the end of the reign of the Hide and Seek Champion 2001-2011 comes to mind); but in the end, it's still a wait-and-see game, and I very much fear that people have forgotten the myth of the Hydra...

Boonie S said...

I couldn’t agree more!
OBL’s death will make no difference to anything. And what kind of human being glories in the death or suffering of another? Violence and killing are not the solution. Violence begets violence.

Best wishes to you, Boonie

Deb and Barbara said...

Celebrating someone's death is not how I want to live my life. Or watch others live theirs. We need to be better than that...
B

Georgina Dollface said...

(I'm posting this and then going back to read all the comments.)
I really appreciate you writing this because it so eloquently puts to words that icky feeling I had in my gut when I heard that people were celebrating his death. A time for somber reflection? Yes. Remembrance for all the victims who lost their lives on 9/11 and in the last ten years? Yes. A sense of closure for the victim's family? Perhaps. Chanting and dancing in the street? No, not for me. - G

A Heron's View said...

I mostly agree with you. I view all life as sacred and that no individual or country has the right to kill another person or persons.

Ziva said...

As a human rights lawyer, I find the rejoicing in the death of a human being appalling. I find it disgusting that people will celebrate the killing of an unarmed man - an act that was not only immoral, but unlawful. I'm not naive, of course I understand that Osama simply couldn't be taken alive, it would have given him a very long criminal trial, years of publicity, and would have kept the torch of hatred burning even brighter than his killing will. Still, I wish decent people would realize that in celebrating that the witch is dead, they're acting like the people they hate.

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