Finally, Osama bin Laden went off the stage.
He has been the face of evil, threat and terror. That what caused death, destruction, instability, harm, terror and war.
I lived in the US when the towers fell, and by chance I was not where I was supposed to be – at a meeting at the Mercer Hotel in Manhattan, a short distance from Ground Zero. As a matter of fact, when the second tower fell, I was on the phone with my co-worker and friend, who went there in my place and got trapped on the island for a few days.
And I was there to witness a country going from a state of over-confidence to shock, grief, anger and – reaction. I remember the speeches of George W Bush and the call to consume as a civic duty. And I witnessed everyone going shopping after Thanksgiving day – and beyond. I recall the events being set in motion – Afghanistan and the Iraq war, as well as the stalling economy and the frenzy to get it going again.
Osama bin Laden, the face of evil, the threat to health, prosperity, stability, material welfare and everything the American way of life stood for: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…..”
He was the killer of innocence and as long as he was on the loose there was no way to forgive and move on. As long as he was alive, security felt threatened and compromised.
President Obama has decided to remove the bogeyman now and called for the spirit of unity in the first few days after 9/11. It is good news, because it will allow the war on terror to be ended and enable the administration to concentrate on the real issues at hand – to correct the course from a path to promote consumption, to a road of spearheading compassion.
The renaissance of a nation founded by mystics.
I read that some were really celebrating the news of Bin Laden’s death. Cheering and almost dancing in the streets. Yes the wicked witch is dead.
Celebrating a revenge killing and then referring to it as justice being served is to me a clear statement of a primitive state of Being. Then again so too is any form of violence for any reason.
But what would one expect from an ego directed and external race like we are. We pat ourselves on our collective backs saying to ourselves how advanced and civilized we are. I’ve gotta laugh at that……
Yes, I think it is up to Obama’s leadership now to set things straight. He needed a powerful symbol to conquer fear and instill confidence and create a reset – but now the course must be corrected quickly to not allow the ego to triumph.
Arms are instruments of ill omen
When one is compelled to use them,
It is best to do so without relish
There is no glory in victory and to glorify
It despite this is to exult in the killing of people.
…And when great numbers of people are killed,
One should weep over them with sorrow.
I think he gets it.
Yes, I think so too…
Celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death is anti-
American … and not very biblical
By Jonathan Zimmerman
Mon May 2, 5:43 pm ET ,The Christian Science Monitor
New York – “Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your
heart be glad when they stumble.”
So says Proverbs 24:17, in a book that millions of Americans hold sacred.
The Bible also says that you should love your enemy as yourself, and that
vengeance is the Lord’s alone.
But all of that went out the window Sunday night and Monday, as news
spread that American forces had killed Osama bin Laden. At Ground Zero
in New York, site of the World Trade Center attacks that bin Laden
masterminded, crowds sang the “hey, hey, good-bye” song that sports fans
use to taunt their defeated foes. Borrowing another sports metaphor, one
reveler held up a sign that said, “Obama 1, Osama 0.”
President Obama himself struck a solemn note as he announced bin
Laden’s death, in a televised address from the White House. But outside,
on Pennsylvania Avenue, the mood was merry. An estimated thousand
people danced, waved flags, and chanted “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” They carried
signs, too, including one which read, “Ding, Dong, Bin Laden is Dead.”
There is something deeply wrong with this picture. By celebrating death,
even of someone as evil as bin Laden, we let our worst impulses trump
what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” We look
petty, juvenile, and small. And we should all be worried about that.
Let me be clear: I am relieved that Osama bin Laden is dead. He caused a
lot of death himself, of course, and his own demise means that he won’t be
able to wreak more havoc on the world.
Second, I recognize that revenge is a natural reaction to tragedy, violence,
and injustice. Ever since Homer’s Illiad, where Achilles goes on a rampage
to avenge the death of his beloved friend Patroclus, poets and playwrights
have reminded us about the powerful role of vengeance in human affairs.
Time for sober reflection, not silly celebration. But a natural impulse isn’t
necessarily a good one. Yes, we feel the need to exact revenge from our
enemies. But our key religious scriptures as well as our greatest political
leaders warn us against this dark human desire, which transmits our feuds
and vendettas to future generations. Indeed, we are at our most human
when we are resisting it.
That’s why Lincoln concluded his second inaugural address, in March
1865, by promising “malice toward none” and “charity for all.” Lincoln
and his generation bore witness to the greatest bloodletting in American
history; whereas fewer than 3,000 died in the World Trade Center attacks,
over 600,000 would perish in the Civil War. But Lincoln rejected calls for
revenge against the soon-to-be-defeated Confederacy. Instead, he called
upon all Americans to recognize the essential humanity of us all.
And part of being human, Lincoln insisted, was recognizing our own
intellectual and moral limitations. Even as he directed the most
devastating war Americans had seen, Lincoln did not assume that his side
had a monopoly on virtue. “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the
same God,” Lincoln said, referring to the North and South, “and each
invokes His aid against the other…. [L]et us judge not, that we be not
It would not be easy. But Lincoln understood that, too. That’s why he
invoked our shared national destiny, insisting that America had something
hugely important to teach the world. To Lincoln, and to millions of
Americans since, the United States represented “the last best hope of
earth.” In striving to meet his charge, we would establish a model and an
example for people everywhere.
And last night, in celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden, we lost sight
of that responsibility. And don’t think the rest of the world didn’t notice,
either. Remember when Palestinians danced on the streets of the West
Bank, to rejoice over the World Trade Center attacks? That’s what we
looked like last night to many of the very people whose hearts and minds
we’ve spent billions to win.
But there’s still time to make it right. The death of Osama bin Laden
should be an occasion for sober reflection, not for silly celebration. We
should use it to ask what we have won, what we have lost, and what
remains to be done. Anything less will do violence to our own better
angels, and to our best national aspirations.
Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history and education at New York
University. He is the author, most recently, of “Small Wonder: The Little
Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory.”
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