… from the bungalow

Osama Bin Laden Is Dead. Now What?

18 Comments

I hesitated writing about this because it will probably spark some controversy at some point. But if you’ve been following along so far, you’ll know that this blog is all about honoring thoughts and feelings by giving them a voice, and I have some thoughts and feelings that require processing. This is my forum. This is my therapy.

This post is not about political motives. It’s not about blame or accolades. It’s not about conspiracy theories or death tolls or bipartisanship. It’s about a boy who is disheartened by his brothers and sisters.

Sorry it took so long to get you a copy of my birth certificate. I was busy killing Osama bin Laden.

The other night, as I read about the slaying of the murderous mastermind, Osama bin Laden, and the dozens of Facebook comments that said things like, “It’s about damn time,” “ding dong the witch is dead,” “we killed the bastard,” etc., I noticed myself feeling strangely unaffected. Not so much unaffected as confused, I guess. I asked myself, “why is everyone so happy about this? I mean, I know why they’re happy. But why are they celebrating?”

The next day I saw more and more of this. Commentary on how families in NY affected by 9/11 would finally find some closure and relief. Lots of political rhetoric about preventing him from killing others. Videos of the crowd that had amassed in front of the White House the night before, chanting “USA! USA!” (are the Olympics being held at the White House now?) in what is one of the most embarrassing, sheep-like demonstrations of American “nationalism” I’ve ever seen:

Relief? Closure? Saving lives?! Since when are we so concerned about saving lives? How many thousands have died because of this drawn-out, so-called “war on terror”? How many more will die because we’ve now strengthened their resolve to destroy what we believe in?

How do you find relief in someone’s death? How does killing a killer bring closure? And why are we still so hell-bent on revenge?

You know what really bugs me? When people say things like, “Well, if you lost a family member, you’d want him dead, too.” Maybe I would. But when he was killed, I wouldn’t be parading down the street shouting “USA! USA!” I wouldn’t (and don’t) mourn this death. At all. But I wouldn’t wish for it and I certainly wouldn’t celebrate it. I might, at best, find some level of quiet resolution while feeling disturbed that death led to more death, and will most likely lead to even more death…

OK, so Osama bin Laden is dead. Now what? The war is over? Loved ones come back from the grave? Al-Qaeda tucks its tail between its legs and whimpers back to its cave? No, no and no. None of the above. Score: 0-0. Nobody wins. Everybody loses.

Let me be clear: This is not an attempt to criticize anyone, and I would never tell someone how they should feel. That would violate a core belief. I like to think of emotions as guidance. They show us how far away we are from–or how close we are to–where we want to be.

So by all means, if you feel like rejoicing in someone’s death, go with that. But really understand why you feel that way. Pay very close attention to what’s at the heart of that “joy.” True satisfaction comes from a place of integrity, not anger. Resolution comes from acceptance, not revenge. And closure–real closure–comes from internal resolution, not external occurrences.

I’ll leave you with a few words of wisdom that seem to fit this occasion:

He who seeks revenge should remember to dig two graves. ~ Chinese Proverb

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. ~ Proverbs 24:17-18

Martin Luther King, Jr. - Associated PressI’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Wishing you much light and love,

Chris

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Author: Chris

A dad with a self-evaluation complex. Also a music therapist, college enrollment administrator, and hippie-nerd.

18 thoughts on “Osama Bin Laden Is Dead. Now What?

  1. Oh boy, where do we start? With the human race in general or the sub group Americans.
    Pride in one’s country even false pride is not exclusively American and at a time of strife people look for anything to latch onto that makes them feel better. Had Germany not been in an economic chasm would Hitler come to power?
    I think people by in large want to identify with the winning team. Look at sports. What is it that fans say when their team wins. “We won” We beat them” Did you see them on the field?
    Humans are a strange lot and there aren’t enough hours to figure them out.

    • Very true, Paul. It just seems to me that so many Americans–more than citizens of many other countries–like to take things way too far and rub it in everyone’s faces. I get the need to belong and feel a sense of community. But the things I’ve been seeing make me sad. Driving home yesterday after work, I really almost cried just thinking about how tragic all this “eff you” mentality is. It’s hard to stomach.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Paul. I always enjoy what you have to say on fb.

  2. I have yet to make any comments on this event publicly, and I doubt that I will. Actually I was up north and had no access to TV, phone, or internet so I didn’t even know until yesterday evening when I came home and my husband told me. I too have been greatly disturbed by some of the comments of some very good friends who I love and adore. Some of those friends are Christians who seem to feel it their personal responsibility to condemn him to hell. Although I am also in fact a Christian, it is not my job (in my opinion) to judge or condemn any man (or woman) period.

    Additionally, I feel that the very idea that this event has made the world a better and safer place is completely misguided. Do people really not think that Al Qaeda doesn’t have a second in command ready to step up at a moments notice and take over right where he left off? I am feeling much more fearful than celebratory.

    Anywhooo . . . thanks for your thoughts, I really do appreciate your point of view!

    • Thanks, Joanna. I agree (obviously). And I’m glad to know that I do have friends who simply have yet to chime in on this topic, but remain mindful. Part of me is tired of feeling like the people who stop to think about things are the ones who often go unheard because they’re not so rash to react.

  3. Chris, very well said. I’ve kept up with your blog with great interest in what you have to say, but this is the first time I felt really compelled to comment. You said (in a much more elequent way) what I have said, that the loss of a human life is not to be celebrated. Not to say that justice has not been served, but, in my opinion, death should not be celebrated.
    (and, as always, I’m proud of you!)

  4. Thank you for your strength and wisdom on this issue. The gloating will only make it harder for those who will inevitably face retaliation. Your quotes are so appropriate. Unfortunately, people react and then think (if they are able). I believe those who have expressed hatred and glee will be left with a most empty feeling in their gut!

    • Yep, there’s nothing substantive about closure that comes from that kind of hatred and glee. No long-lasting feeling of resolution. I really do wish for them nothing but love. Seeing these kinds of reactions has really had me down.

  5. Great post, Chris.
    Keep it up.
    All the best 🙂

  6. hey… its karins friend mel… i think this is a great post… and im glad i wasnt the only one sitting at the edge of my bed thinking why the hell am i not caring so much about this when the news came on… and once i had time to process the news… well.. ur not on my facebook but this was my post that of course.. no one responded to because it is very definatly not celebratory….”two wrongs dont always make a right, revenge isnt always sweet and sometimes you dont have to have be a lover to feel “hell hath no fury”, i hope the retaliation is caught in time, with all that is going on its important for everyone to be vigilant in there own personal & collective safety then ever. rejoice that a sadistic man has been stopped.. but dont rejoice that someone had to die to end the reign of terror”

    and that was my two cents… i … enjoyed doesnt seem like the right word… but its all i have.. so.. i enjoyed reading your take on the situation in the world today…..

    mel

    • Thanks, Mel! It’s good to know that not all–or even most–Americans think it’s OK to gloat and celebrate killing. I really hope that other nations will also see this side of U.S. citizens.

  7. Chris–I really enjoy reading your posts here at the Bungalow. You always come across (to me) as insightful, thoughtful, compassionate, witty…many things. All good, I promise. This post is no exception.

    My husband woke me up in the wee hours to tell me the news. My immediate feeling was relief. A chapter closed, a little closure for those left to pick up the pieces. Then hope. Maybe we can get out of these senseless wars (as if all warring weren’t senseless, right?). I was pretty disgusted at the outright jubilation on first thought. I’m not sure we can call this a victory. Even so, the cost of “victory” was not worth it.

    That said–and though I know you have your say with peace and love in your heart–I feel the need to say more. We’ve been through so much as a people and as a country. The attacks, the wars, the joblessness, homelessness, oil spills, earthquakes and tsunamis around the world, nuclear contamination, tornadoes…a constant barrage of news ranging from “meh” to horrifying. I choose to believe that what we have seen (and will continue to see) is not so much jubilation over the killing of bin Laden as jubilation at having a break from the depression. Most telling perhaps is that a majority of the revelers in D.C. were college students studying for finals. Or maybe I am way off base and Americans were out in droves doing exactly the same thing they denounce other nations’ citizens (Iranians perhaps?) for doing.

    In any case, I love this post and am so glad you addressed this news with the gravitas it deserves. Thanks for sharing with the rest of the class! 😉

    • Thank you Stacy! I’m glad you enjoy the blog and I appreciate your thoughtful input. I think you’re on to something. I hadn’t realized those people were all college kids. I wondered why it looked like a frat party. :/ I do give Americans more credit today than I did yesterday. My personal reaction was heavy, and it skewed my overall perception. But that’s life, right? Subjectivity and transference and all that? Thanks for reading and commenting!

  8. Pingback: Striking a Balance | … from the bungalow

  9. You’re a pretty cool guy.
    Just sayin’.

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