Osama Bin Laden is dead

And the news is celebrating, facebook is celebrating, America is celebrating. “Ding Dong.” “USA, USA, USA” Hundreds of people chant outside the White House at midnight. Special Ops, human intelligence – they found him in Pakistan – dead or alive the order said, but they probably wanted him dead.
Will May 1 become a national holiday?
Pat rushed into bed as I was reading Ezra Pound and settling into sleep. The disbelief in his face as he corralled me into the living room to watch. Newscasters saying the same thing over and over again because they have nothing new yet. And I’m waiting for the president to say something. An hour of waiting for him to say something. Every one is pleased. Sources are celebrating. What a great day for America, they say. People are filled with happiness, filled with a sense of achievement, filled with joy, filled with redemption. Some say this is the end of an era of terror, others know better and say the war is not over. But we have his body with a gunshot wound to the head. America can find anyone anywhere.

But I don’t feel happy or full of joy. I don’t feel like celebrating this momentous night on the war on terror. I feel sad that this is our world. That we as a nation and world are delighted in death. That people are celebrating in the streets as terrorists once celebrated in their streets over the loss of our innocents. I worry about the violence. The violence on top of violence. Where does it end?
I understand there’s a sense of closure for those who have lost loved ones in 9-11 and the war. I understand that a man some people refer to as “The Devil” cannot indoctrinate, torture, terrorize, mass murder or shoot out seeds of violence any longer. I’m glad as a symbol of evil he is gone. And I hope that’s what the celebration is about. I hope it is not the death itself we are celebrating. But I think about how much our lives changed because of this. How many people have died? Iraqis, U.S. soldiers, women, children, reporters, businessmen, first responders, police, fire? What has been the cost of it all? Financially and politically? A volatile nation that is barely able to peacefully come to its own budget agreements. A right and a left that would rather rip each other’s throats than meet in the middle. Wire taps without warrants. Freedom to fly the skies, but we have to strip your freedom first. Islamic fears and stereotypes. We have become, in a way, a country of extremes. And the death of one man, albeit and evil man, cannot change what we are or where we are going.  There is no going back from all of this. No going back from 9-11, no going back from tonight. There is no knowing what will happen next, who might rise in Osama’s place, what al-Qaida will do now in retaliation? Hate is hungry and so is death. On TV, I watch the shock of lights from the newscast of terrorists shooting guns into the night sky, it is old footage, but they are shooting bullets next to the stars. The stars. All the inbreeded violence and hate terrifies me. On our side and theirs.
I would have hoped we would take time to mourn. Celebrate weddings, yes. Celebrate jobs, yes. Celebrate love and poetry and birth and light, yes. Celebrate spring or the first day of May. But Celebrate death? It doesn’t sit right with me. The mob. The hunger for it. The whole thing. And I hope my friend is right – that it is the symbol of evil gone that we are celebrating, not the death itself.

Ten years ago, I remember getting ready for school, my mom coming into my room in the exact same way Pat just did now, the only difference was the look on her face, the time of day, the lives lost after, the ghosts in between that can’t find a place to rest, the homes wrecked, the broken hearts, the children and sons and daughters that are never coming back. The early morning; now, the last minutes of night. But my reaction is and was the same – I feel a swell of sadness. I feel like crying. I do not feel like celebrating. I feel no comfort here today. I pray for more peace. That this is in fact the end some some horrific era. I pray that a chapter has closed and the world finds some peace.

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2 Responses to Osama Bin Laden is dead

  1. My reaction matches yours. I cannot find anything to relish about death, no matter whose. And what can we hope this will change? Can we take giant cans of hairspray on airplanes, or normal size containers of anything? Will troops come home or will we now send additional combat units to places we did not occupy a month or two ago. It is a sobering day, a chance to look at ourselves and what we truly stand for. On the whole, I’d say it is not peace and love-thy-brother. A thought I hold through all situations, with the hope of achieving it, is that the high road is never a wrong choice. But small-minded and vengeful seems to be the way of it. Revenge does not solve anything. xo

    • rachvb says:

      I read an opinion somewhere that it’s like standing outside a prison and having a mass cheer section for an execution. I just don’t see death as a parade like that. But it’s so difficult because when a man like that exists, how as a humanity do you deal with it? Mass murderers are vengeful and small-minded.
      I’m just unsure of where we go from here. I hope it’s toward something more loving, a higher road.
      xo

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