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.