The time difference between Israel and the East Coast of the United States is seven hours, which means that I woke up yesterday morning to learn that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US forces at some point during the night. This being the age of new media, it’s probably not terribly surprising to anyone that I discovered this bit of news via my Facebook feed (with Lisa Goldman having the dubious distinction of being the bearer of such tidings, since her status update was the first one I read). The news websites confirmed the information that my Facebook friends (and indeed, my Twitter feed as well) were sharing – some rather giddily, and the images I saw on television shortly thereafter showed Americans in front of the White House celebrating and singing.
I didn’t cheer, nor did I jump for joy or break into spontaneous singing of a national anthem. I wasn’t sorry to hear the news, but I also found it distasteful to watch people joyously celebrating someone’s death, and in the same raucous manner that one might celebrate a major sports victory. I can’t share the view of some of my friends who believe his death was wrong, or that he should have been brought to justice instead. I think that sometimes, as disturbing as this type of retribution might be, it may be the most sensible response to a situation whose components defy the most basic elements of logic, reason and humanity that most people hold dear, regardless of nationality, religion or any other circumstances that define who we are as individuals and members of the human race.
I can certainly understand and identify with the feelings of relief over Osama Bin Laden’s death, and hope that it brings at least some semblance of closure to those whose lives were directly affected by the atrocities for which he was responsible. But to actively celebrate the death of another human being? Drawing on the fact that there are people who celebrate the deaths of Americans (or any other group, for that matter) does not make it any more acceptable or palatable, for really, how can people justify their actions through a comparison to those who joyously support a culture of death?
And celebrating the death of one individual is to turn him into a martyr of mythological proportions. There is no question that Osama Bin Laden was an evil, dangerous man with a devastating, destructive agenda, but there were terror attacks before he came on the scene and there will continue to be terror long after he is gone and forgotten. He was not the root cause of all evil in the world (or even most of it), though the celebrations I’ve seen and words I’ve read would have you thinking otherwise. Terror organizations are not simply going to shut down their training camps and disperse their terror cells, nor do we now have them quaking in their boots with fear. People are still, at this very moment, trying to come up with new, creative ways to violently cause mass casualties. Killing Bin Laden is not going to solve or alleviate the issue of global terror, and to believe otherwise is, quite simply, naïve. We can, perhaps, take satisfaction in knowing that justice has been served, but in the grand scheme of things, his death is not a turning point; it is nothing more than a blip on the timeline of global terror.
This entry was posted in Conflict, Current Events, Loss, Politics, Regional, War and tagged 9/11, Al Qaeda, Barack Obama, death, global terrorism, justice, Lisa Goldman, Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan, terror, US by Liza Rosenberg