When I heard the news yesterday that Osama was dead, I felt a sense of relief; relief for the victims, for this country, for those fighting the war on terror and for the world in general. When I heard he was dead, I let out a sigh of relief. I thought to myself, ahhh, this chapter has been closed, a lot of people can breath easier now.
What I didn’t feel was happiness that he was dead. I didn’t have any rejoicing feelings he had been killed. The thought he was dead didn’t effect me in a pleasing way. As I watched TV, saw the Twitter streams, saw friends posts on Facebook , there was no jubilation regarding his death for me. For others, there was excitement and celebration. I enjoyed watching people be happy and celebrating in the streets. It was nice to see this country rejoicing and coming together. It was nice to see us stop squabbling amongst ourselves, even if it was for only a day. Yet, in spite of my pleasure watching the country rejoice, it was hard to tell exactly what was at the root of the celebration. I couldn’t tell if folks were celebrating in the relief that Osama could no longer hurt anyone else or in the fact that he was dead. There is a real distinction here for me.
I see no win, moral or otherwise, in celebrating in the death of another person, regardless of how vile the person is or was. The celebration in killing or death of another comes from hate and no one wins from hate. I see celebration in the relief that a madman has been stopped, that people are now safer, but not in the fact the someone has been killed.
I liked this quote a friend put on Facebook yesterday:
“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that”
I’ve seen a lot of people posting around the web asking this same question, challenging us to think about why we are celebrating. The fact that so many Americans are asking this question makes me proud. The fact that so many of us, all who have been scarred by Osama’s actions, are challenging us NOT to embrace hate, makes me proud that we won’t bring ourselves down to the terrorists level.
Should we rejoice in Osama Bin Ladens death OR should we be rejoicing in the fact that world is a litte bit safer because he can’t execute on his hate? Do you think there is a difference?