Monday, May 2, 2011


I can't celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden.

Here's why. After 9/11, bin Laden and his followers reveled in the collective pain and anguish that Americans experienced. Our mourning was like wine to them. They drank of it freely, happily. The suffering of Americans and their families made them happy.

I refuse to sink to that level. I will not allow myself to become what I loathe -- a person who rejoices in death, who sees someone's passing as a cause for revelry.

Which is not to say that I do not understand why people are celebrating. I do understand. To be completely honest, that reaction makes more sense to me than mine does. It would be easier to be happy that he is dead.

But I worry about martyrdom. I am concerned that nothing has been resolved, and that in fact, now the acts of violence and retribution will be escalated. That we're going to miss the bigger pictures regarding the conflicts and rage that is rampant in the Middle East and breathe a sigh of relief for what we consider to be our safety when, in fact, there is still no safety.

And I also worry that when we rejoice at this event, in some way so do his followers. Because even while they mourn their most prominent leader, they also use it as a recruiting method, and they smile when they do it for we have shown them that we are what they believe us to be.

I think of the American soldiers who were killed and taken through the villages, where the townspeople celebrated, and how we expressed our disgust. And I think: if they brought bin Laden through New York City, we would do the same thing... and I would understand it.

I should add here that I don't mean to take away from the efforts and heroism that American soldiers exhibit on a daily basis, and I am so thankful for what they have done to try to find and capture bin Laden. I am in awe of them and the sacrifices that they make. I have lost friends in the Middle East. If you think I am showing disrespect to them -- or to the people who were lost on 9/11, and their families -- that is not my intent in any way.

But I should also add that I firmly believe that we're no closer now than we were 10 years ago to finding a real solution to any of this. We may, in fact, be further apart.

I don't know how to feel. But I do not celebrate. I look for resolution and instead I find conflict at every turn.

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