Osama Bin Laden was killed yesterday in Pakistan. Also killed were two of his brothers and his adult son. I found this out just today. Although I am relieved that he will no longer be able to kill or to order the deaths of any more innocents, I have to stop myself from rejoicing over the death of another human being. Actually, I don’t have to stop myself very much. It’s the rest of the world. Even now, thousands are at Ground Zero in New York City and a crowd has gathered in from of the White House in Washington D.C. rejoicing and cheering. This makes my blood run cold. Even though Osama Bin Laden did a lot of heinous things and orchestrated the murders of thousands at the World Trade Centers and in other attacks around the world, he was still a human being. He was a son, a brother, a father, someone’s lover, a grandson, perhaps a grandfather.
It is my belief that every single death touches more lives than you can imagine. It affects even those who are not related in blood or in friendship. Like an insect walking on a spider’s web or a stone thrown into an undisturbed pond, extreme actions like the killing of another being have repercussions. Osama Bin Laden’s death will affect the world in its own way. In order to have true peace, we must, as a species, practice the peace we want to experience around the world.
Rejoicing in his death only adds to the violence. It sends the wrong message to our children. The message it sends is that violence solves all problems. It does not. Killing the killer does not bring back the killed. Even the families and friends of killers still weep for their lost loved ones. Because everyone is loved by someone.
I see in my local news that people are celebrating. Fireworks are being set off over the campus and many say they are happy about what happened. A soldier at ground zero reminded us, though, that it is also a time of mourning. So many have needlessly lost their lives at the hands of Al-Qaida and it’s leader and followers. The families of the folks killed in the 9/11 attacks are still in mourning. The mothers of the Al-Qaida’s operatives have lost their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.
The celebrations just seem wrong. To me, this is a solemn event. It is a day to reflect seriously on where we’ve been and where we’re going. It is my hope that Mr. Obama and leaders around the world will ponder these events and take time to absorb what has happened and reflect on the violence that threatens to swallow the world whole. They need to take these reflections with them to work every day. They need to make decisions that will bring peace, not violence to the world.
I am keep these thoughts close to my heart as I interact with my family and children. On the way to school with my eldest, I briefly told him what had happened and my thoughts on it. I told him that I wanted him to know what I thought, so that he may weigh that against what others may say and form his own opinions. I am very interested in what the perceptions of the other children will be. Their background is probably very different from his. They come from a different culture and a different world view. It will be a challenge navigating the issues of the day with my children.