It takes a lot to render me speechless and even more to make me dumbfounded, but during this past week I’ve been following a blog about one American’s reaction to Bin Laden’s death. As an Opinionated Woman, I make a point of listening to all sides and getting the facts (“the facts ma’am, just the facts”) before making up my mind on any topic. So I subscribe to liberal, moderate, and conservative publications to read what people are feeling, believing, espousing. One publication is Care2 Causes, and the blog in question is Osama Bin Laden Killed: To Celebrate – Or Not?
In this blog, the writer consistently reinforces that she’s glad Bin Laden is dead, that his death was justified, that she loves her country. And yes, I believe her. But I find there is a naivete in her blog, as well as in the comments of so many who posted in response. Comments from the blogger:
“I felt a rush of relief, almost glee”…But that lasted only about ten seconds, and then I caught myself. Wait. Someone just died. Someone’s child lost a parent. Some friend lost someone they trust.”….
”My heart filled with compassion and forgiveness, and I genuinely hoped he didn’t suffer in the end.”
“But another part of me just feels awful that wild celebrations are happening on social media and elsewhere.” I just can’t celebrate the loss of another human life, no matter how justified…I just wonder why we can’t bond in love, rather than over a shared hatred and a death?”
“Are we going to live perpetually in fear? Will we let fear dominate our life? Or can we manage to find peace, love, and serenity in the midst of the fear? Can we choose love instead of hate?”
And the comments posted in response indicate a significant amount of ambivalence. We’re sorry, but then we’re not sorry. Americans are full of hate, we should be choosing love. The terrorists killed thousands in 9/11, but we’ve killed more people in 10 years in Iraq/Afghanistan.
“I just can’t be happy over ANYONE’s death! God doesn’t want to see ANYONE die! I keep thinking…he left loved ones behind just the same as you or I will.”
“While we may feel relieved at having one less enemy, we must confront the fact that a large population believes that we have made ourselves their enemy and that Bin Laden was a courageous leader in their cause. To this population, he was a beloved hero whose martyrdom they now mourn. It seems somehow unbefitting our espoused American principals of charity and compassion to rejoice and celebrate in the face of the grief of this population.”
“Since when is it a celebration when a well armed squad assassinates an unarmed man in front of his already wounded unarmed wife? I was amazed the military had the guts to give those details.”
“In my book Bush makes Bin Laden look like a piker! How many Americans have ever voiced one little qualm about all the people WE have killed? Not one!”
“Sadly, we humans the world over, even with all our differences, will not step up and say ‘Enough….this evil stops here…enough’”.
As I re-read her blog and the comments that followed, I asked myself, am I missing something, am I not understanding something. When I heard Bin Laden was killed late Sunday evening by our Navy Seals, my reaction was “Yessssss!!!! Payback, buster. We got you. And I hope before you died, you knew it was the Americans who pulled the trigger.” I was proud of our Seal team. Then I remembered the thousands who died, and continue to die, civilian and military, because of that madman. Good riddance. After that, I turned off the TV and let the dogs out.
This is where I part company with “the blogger” and so many people who’ve left their comments. It’s been my fortune in life to live and work abroad. I lived for several years in a country that was the foundation of Communism, and travelled and worked in countries whose cultures had strong Islamic traditions, as well as Asian countries, influenced by Chinese and Japanese morés.
While my experiences were mostly positive with many extraordinary memories, I also learned two things: how insulated America is from the rest of the world, and how very different some people/cultures are from us. No, I’m not referring to traditions. I’m talking about how people are different psychologically, their values, expectations in life, how they treat their fellow countrymen. In some instances, the differences between us and them could be described as a chasm, while in others, you felt you could build some bridges.
But, while I was soaking up multi-culturalism, I also met the dark side. There are people who genuinely hate. And they hate not only for what you are, but who you are. Some hate by choice because of the experiences life has given them. Others hate because they’ve been brought up since childhood surrounded by guns, revenge and killing so they grow up to become killers themselves. KSM, living in Gitmo, who masterminded 9/11, and by his own admission beheaded journalist, Daniel Pearl is a prime example. These are people you can’t reason with, and who defy the descriptor, human being. I’ve witnessed two people killed in my life, one shot by a sniper right in front of me. Yes, experiences change you.
So when Bin Laden was killed, assassinated, whatever term you want to use, I had no qualms whatsoever. Many people who left comments brought in references to God and Jesus, and peace and love. I believe in God, too. It was my unwavering faith in God that got me through many tough periods in my life. And I believe that God put evil on this earth so that man could distinguish between it and goodness, and make a choice between the two. For me, Bin Laden was that evil. As long as we have his followers in Al-Quaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, as well as the enslavement of women and people through the Taliban and sharia law, there will be no peace and love on earth.
As one person commented, what would Jesus do? Would he turn the other cheek and forgive? If that’s the case, you should expect to see Bin Laden and Hitler in heaven.