Bin Laden

My View From Europe

I was a few blocks away, on Seventh Avenue in New York City, with a clear view looking downtown, as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were impacted by planes on September 11, 2001.  As those buildings collapsed, so did my heart.  The lost lives, the primal blow of having our land attacked from outside, the awakened anxiety and on-going fear, I hate these things.

Because I hate these things, I also hate the killing of Osama Bin Laden.  Militarily and politically, I understand ten years of pursuing a criminal and finally achieving the goal.  However, to celebrate his death is to celebrate the circumstance which made his death necessary.  To do a victory dance with laughter and shouts of glee when we hear the news of a bullet hole in Bin Laden’s head is participating in the dance of terrorism, and I refuse to do that. The United States of America, having lived through 9/11 is a mature and powerful country.  If the military choice to kill an enemy is mature, then let us react to that killing with maturity as well. I was ashamed of my country’s reaction to the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, shocked, sickened and embarrassed as well.

I had hoped for something better from us.   The murder of Bin Laden is a symbol of a world shirred with greedy rivalry, religious hate, and power lust.  His death is a symbol that our world is menaced by terrorists and attempts to combat them.  To celebrate that is cock-eyed and short-sighted.  We are not in a football game here, with the winner being the one who makes a touchdown – yippee.  We are in a dangerous world situation which requires wisdom and delicacy, action and insight.  I remember images of Al-Qaeda members rejoicing over the deaths from the September 11 attack.  To respond with hoorays of our own indicated we have joined their game.

Instead, let us mourn.  If we are unable to mourn the killing of a man who led extremists, let us mourn a world where such extremism exists.

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