Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On Bin Laden's Death

I just watched a lot of footage on Bin Ladens death on the BBC website.


I must say that I feel a bit of sadness for these events. What Bin Laden did was cruel, but a lot of things stick out in my mind and emotions other than this.

On a personal level it is amazing to think that that was 10 years ago, and how much life, and especially my life, has changed in that time. I remember 9/11 very well. I remember how I awoke that morning. I remember watching the second plane hit live on TV. I remember spending the day helping my college girl friend move, with a constant eye on the television. I think of who and where I was then, at the age of 21, and how many things in my life have come and gone and passed by in between then and now, both good and bad. I have lived what seems a lifetime since that time.

But I also think of younger people, men and women who may have been only 8 or 10 at the time, who are now becoming adults and seeing this vengeance, which began in their childhood, come to be finished as they reach adulthood. Seeing them chant USA with happy victory faces hurts me, not because I have no love of my homeland, but because they see a pride in our nationhood, in themselves, associated with bloodshed and revenge and the 'superiority' of ourselves for 'winning'.

In the big picture I don't really see this as a victory. Even though what he did was tragic, and the world may be better off without him, I am left to wonder what really went on in his life, on a personal level, that drove him to the things he did, the actions that also brought about his final end, hated by much of the world. I wonder for the pain of the people who actually mourn him, or consider(ed) him highly. What pain have and do they face? Could we ease it?

I see this as a tragedy of what ones life can be: That someone could waste their life as he did, and finally meet a cruel end, which while may be deserved, it is still tragic because his death gives a satisfaction to some in our blood thirsty and vengeful world.

I feel it tragic when I hear a man rejoicing that, he believes, Osama is now in hell. Should you not mourn this rather than to be glad of it?

To have lived a life so full of pain as to wish nothing but to inflict some back upon those he saw as his enemies, is a miserable existence indeed. And further, it is tragic that our world sees only the pain he caused, and not the pain he endured, and without empathy, some are just glad or prideful of revenge, or in our so called supremacy, our so called victory in putting down an abused and violent man.

Why should we be glad when an enemy falls? Should we not feel more sorrow that we perhaps gave cause for him to be our enemy in the first place? Should we not feel sorrow that our presence in this could evoked so much hatred from anyone? Or at least that we should be seen a worthy target for ones malice? Is it not tragic that we did not win our enemies as friends?

I am also saddened by the words of a soldier who said: While this closes one door, it ends nothing, for the war on terror is like the war on drugs, a war without end.

Is it not our weakness and folly to see these things through the metaphor of war? Why can we not have the healing of drugs? Or the healing from terror? The war against darkness is the darkness itself. To us our ends justify the means, which in turn, to our enemies justifies their means and ends against a ruthless and evil enemy who has no scruples. Round and round it goes.

When will it be time to make whole instead of dividing the world into good and evil, where ourselves are always not but good, and from the views of both sides?

Our war on terror, for some is terror itself, and we thus but create the next generation of our enemies, likely to be weaker still than these. What does it say of a culture who must make enemies to defeat from the weak and the poor of the earth? If we wished to become truly strong instead of just feeling strong, and if we must have enemies, should we not face ones stronger and mightier than ourselves? That is a heroes deed. Rather than those whose only real victory against us is to have successfully hidden from us nearly without action for almost 10 years after delivering but one bloodied nose?

No, there is no victory in this. If one were to say this was a victory, it would shame our culture and our values, revealing them to be weak and ineffective for a modern global world.


But this does give me hope. For if I can think in these ways, maybe more people can, or do already, see the world not for what it is, but for what it could be.

Maybe there are those who can see a world in which we empathetically win our enemies to friendship with understanding, sympathy, and care.

Maybe there are those who can see a world in which we challenge injustice first within ourselves, and seek not revenge, but how we might make self improvement when we are bloodied by an angry foe.

Maybe next time we as a people can truly and honestly ask what we have done to provoke this, instead of just believing the answers given by the propaganda.

Maybe there are those who can or still will yet see, that to know ones self we need look no further than they eyes and motives of our enemies.