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.
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
I’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,