I did a dumb thing yesterday.
Dumber than posting about porn? Yes, yes it was. I reposted this:
Then I read this: Washington Post.
And a few more blogs. The dude (who I thought was Denzel Washington) is really Malcolm X. The quote, butchered bits from a lady in Japan and second half from ML King.
I took it off my FB feeling silly and gullible, but kept thinking about it.
Does the source make the sentiment less true?
It still describes how I feel about the celebrating following Bin Laden’s death.
I was deeply embarrassed for us as a nation. Watching the celebrating at Ground Zero uncomfortably reminded me of clips I saw of celebrants after 9/11, rejoicing in our pain, and though Bin Laden (and the others in the compound) were wanted war criminals, I would rather they’d been taken alive and tried in an international court.
If that wasn’t an option, I still haven’t heard a good reason why. Anybody know the answer to this? I did find this thoughtful article by the BBC: Should Osama Bin Laden have been Caught and Tried?
When Hussein was captured, there was equal rejoicing, and it didn’t have the edge that this situation did. We got to see as a world court tried him, and got to be a little horrified at the old-fashioned hanging that was dispensed. But at least, it wasn’t the USA with a gun being judge, jury and executioner in front of the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Special Forces, SEALs, SWAT, law enforcement in general. I love action movies where things blow up. I enjoy TV shows like “the Unit” and have many friends in the military. I have even said in frustration about various world scenarios, “Why don’t we send in the SEALs?”
But this situation has me concerned that we’ve made Bin Laden a martyr, not the laughingstock he could have become if tried in court, and in killing him and dancing on his body (metaphorically speaking) we’ve deepened the hatred of his followers, and showed ourselves to be something of what they say we are.
I was consoled by that mishmash quote and follow up articles that showed others were embarrassed and concerned as well. Let’s do better in the future to represent ourselves as the justice-loving. compassionate nation we really are.
Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice. Prov.24:17
Opinions and thoughts?
I agree. I’m uncomfortable celebrating the death of any human being. I worry at night about how I would cope with losing my husband, son, or other loved ones, and I’m sure that Bin Laden was loved by SOMEONE who is now mourning.
I heard the government analyzed all the possible scenarios and decided killing Bin Laden was the safest thing to do. While trying him in court would have been the most ideal scenario, he probably wouldn’t have cooperated, would have been made into more of a martyr, and Americans overseas everywhere would be kidnapped to barter for his life. Letting him live was supposed to be a huge national security risk.
Thank you SO much for this thoughtful answer. THat’s the sense I’m getting but still feeling weird about it.
I think this is one of those things where we really feel the effects of being in a fallen world. I think the gov’t had to make a decision as a worldly entity, and not as a spiritual one, and spiritual people feel that tension. A worldly gov’t can’t always be merciful when people’s lives are on the line. Sometimes mercy is only a spiritual trait, and it’s exhibited by people, not public institutions. I’ve been glad to see so many people saying they don’t rejoice in his death and think the public celebrations were uncalled for. I think that speaks louder about who people are and what our values are, what part of our culture’s values are, than just the decision of our C-I-C. I wish he would have been captured and I don’t like the order to kill, but from a human standpoint I understand it.
Thanks so much for weighing in with a thoughtful answer, Sally!
I’ll weigh in. I think you’re right to be embarrassed. The similarity between the US celebration and those of the people celebrating the fall of the twin towers struck me as it struck you. Unseemly in both instances.
Thanks Greta, it was jarring.
Would this be a good time to tell you you’ve got an award waiting for you?
I don’t know if you ‘do’ awards, so in case you don’t, the thought’s still there: I appreciate your posts, the honesty and your overall voice. 🙂
Thanks SO MUCH, KC, I love your blog too, it’s just a matter of “when” for when I feature it in one of my blog spotlights. So glad we found each other through the to Z challenge!
Heh… That picture is a play off of this meme: http://artoftrolling.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/aca98e4e-2c4b-4343-8c30-25322c64289b.png I assume you will immediately see the problem there.
My immediate reaction upon finding out was “This changes nothing.” I was young, when 9/11 happened. The hurt and trauma our nation underwent hardly touched me. But I understand that people feel relief, and even joy, knowing that someone who was responsible for hurting them no longer exists. I don’t agree with the celebrations, I think it is unbecoming, but I sympathize with them.
OMG too clever, I had to save it. Your generation is so clever, without you I wouldn’t even know what a “meme” was.
Rejoicing at someone’s death, no matter how dangerous and vile the person, is unseemly.
I’m not sad at his death, I know if captured and tried he would have turned television channels into intentional or inadvertent sources of terrorist propaganda, not to mention the attempts to free him at the cost of innocent lives. I’m not an American, so I cannot be ashamed or proud of the country–but I can understand that those who ordered and carried out the operation had limited and risky choices.
I do feel that mass celebration of his death could have been avoided….because as many have said before, hatred can only be eliminated by love, not further hatred.
Signed up to get your blog on email. So glad I found you through the Challenge, and thanks for sharing.
The behavior of extremist Islamist murders may constitute hatred, but execution of such Islamist murderers when capture isn’t a best option is a practical, operational decision. When that execution receives more approval than equivocation, approval will take its own course and form. When an international murder master is eliminated, let each person acknowledge such event in his own way–without supercilious, unknowledgeable judgement.
In recent times, the United States of America has been diminished by a loss of patriotism and the quashing of its victory celebrations in this instance by some parties who seem to have forgotten the photographed faces of those who were able to jump to their deaths from the twin towers and the filmed beheading of innocent Americans by Bin Ladin’s followers and contiguous groups.
Be very embarrassed for criticizing those who loudly and openly message murderers that their behavior will be rewarded appropriately. Meekness and delicacy in this instance particularly serves only to reinforce the Islamist extremist vision of a weak and spineless Western culture. Study the history of war for a more enlightened comprehension of these postures and eddying effects. Such actions have NOTHING to do with the refinements of social etiquette or religious niceties and everything to do with pitched battles and attendant propaganda.
One of our greatest freedoms is that of freedom of speech and diversity of opinion. Thank you for sharing yours, and no one has forgotten the horrors of 9/11.
I, too, was mightily uncomfortable watching the “celebrations” (if that’s what they were) that first night. Was justice done? Vengeance certainly was.
Yikes, I know!
I wrote a post on waking up the news, unable to understand the jubilation. I still believe a quiet gathering to remember the victims would have been more respectful.
There is no honour on dancing on somebody’s grave. Why we would want to behave like them escapes me.
Your blog said it well, as well!
I watched the speech and heard people talking about the rejoicing on Twitter (what would I do without that site?? I also found out about the speech through there…), but I didn’t witness the rejoicing until the following day. Like Tawny, the first thing I thought when I heard he was dead–long before the President’s speech–was…”and?” So he’s dead. That doesn’t stop terrorism. I’m not sure I understood why people were rejoicing so much (well, I do understand, but I don’t want to, and I certainly don’t agree).
The last point I wanted to make is: don’t be silly or gullible for reposting that quote. The sentiment IS the same, no matter who said it. And really, people are misquoted all the time (Clint Eastwood, “Do you feel lucky, punk?” anyone?).
I don’t think it will end terrorism either and his death is more symbolic than anything. We do have the kickass armed forces though!
I’ve given this some thought, and I don’t think you should feel embarrassed. Not even for a second. You as well as every other person on this planet are human, and as humans we are an emotional species. It is that emotion that drives us to do things, such as rejoice at ground zero, that in retrospect may not be wise or respectful of others, but it is who we are. The people who lived through September 11th, the ones who had watched as their loved ones burn to death, then watched in horror as that building collapsed with them entombed inside – I ask you, can you tell that person at ground zero the day bin Laden was shot, that they shouldn’t rejoice with all the others? Understand, they cannot sit at home with a cup of tea in hand and simply toast the TV and say: “Well done.”
Our emotions are what make us human and therefore make us sometimes act in erratic ways. It makes us dance at the death of a man who caused innumerable pain and suffering, it makes us cry with relief that the vengeance that we – should or shouldn’t – have has been met. And when we share that feeling with others, we as humans come together. And that is what makes us human. Is it right? Is it not right? And my, oh my, who are we to decide?
Yes. Yes. And also, it’s all just sad. I guess I just wish would have been less public about it. Those celebrations may well come back to haunt us, adding fuel to a festering fire. But who knows? And what will be, in the end, will be. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!
Let’s get real, folks. The hesitation to speak ill of a dead enemy is based on an ancient fear of spirits that has somehow been carried down thru the generations. I’m all for dignity when it’s deserved, but if young folks (who seem to have been in the majority of the videos) get excited over a significant propaganda victory, I understand and empathize. You might want to look at old photos of VE and VJ day celebrations of the destruction of whole nations.
If it makes anyone feel better, though, Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore share your delicate feelings.
Anyone who can’t see the difference between celebrating the slaughter of innocents and celebrating the righteous execution of an evil murderer either isn’t thinking rationally or simply doesn’t have his head on straight. My only regret is ObL wasn’t squeezed dry of information before being hung, sewn into a pigskin, and burnt with a strip of bacon between his jaws. No beheading, though—that is so seventh century.
As it is, bin Laden has gone to a better place, where he can converse/commune with fellow leaders such as Stalin, Pol Pot, Che, and many, many others. [Did I say a Better Place? I meant a HOTTER Place.]
Nothing personal, Toby—you know I luv ya despite some rather strange quirks we each have.
Appreciate you weighing in, and share your sentiments about beheading.
What about all my other points—don’t you agree with those?
Well I also liked your point about fear of spirits- that’s not what this is, I have no fear of speaking ill of that terrible man, but it’s an interesting point.
Thank you, Dai Alanye….
Bleating for courtly behavior in response to UBL’s departure from this world is unrealistic and a message of weakness to his followers and imitator wannabes.
Being kind and genteel has its place, but that place is most correct in an environment in which all live or are governed civilly and/or religiously by the same courteous tenants. Clearly that is not the case among Islamist extremists whose goal is to annihilate Westerners.
Further, not all ancients believed that negative critique of enemies was to be avoided. Most contemporary people have no knowledge of ancient ways…..or, for the most part, even current ways. Contrary to the aphorism, ignorance is not bliss…..ignorance should be the most obvious source of embarrassment and, especially, in this particular sharing instance.
Thank you for making it real.
I came to your blog to read your Mother’s Day post, and saw this one as well. Regardless of the source of each part of the quotation, I also agree with the sentiment. When Osama bin Laden was killed, I was only able to express to my son at Humboldt State that I somehow felt sad rather than celebratory at bin Laden’s death, and that it seemed wrong to me that Americans were cheering. On my own, I was only able to think of “Any man’s death diminishes me”, from John Donne (I only know the source because I just looked it up!)
Thanks to your blog, I now have seen the ML King quotation “No one should rejoice at the death or defeat of a human being.” (in addition to the quotation “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.” which I had previously seen on a friend’s facebook page). And I know that another Mom on Mother’s day feels the same way I do about some things in our lives.
Thanks so much for taking the time to visit, read, and share your “mana`o” as we call it in Hawaii…your wisdom. I appreciate your thoughtful words that add to some others I’ve been pondering. We are all having our reactions and they are a part of the fabric of the American experience at large–such diverse fabric it is, too!
Hey Toby, sorry I missed your tweet as I’ve been off training…that said, better late than never.
The short of it is that there is no right answer as to whether or not he should have died, but I believe that President Obama and his cabinet made the right choice, given all the options. As for celebrating in the streets…I didn’t really think about it too much one way or another. There will always be those who do it, whether in Afghanistan and Iraq, or at Ground Zero. Mostly, I just think that those people were silly, because they were not really celebrating anything in particular, in the grand scheme of things.
And the long:
I’ll start by saying that killing UBL was almost entirely a symbolic victory. My first reaction upon receiving confirmation from the President that he was dead was to tweet/FB “This changes nothing.” Fortunately, UBL and Al-Qaeda are not what he used to be due to aggressive US targeting of the variety you don’t usually get to see. There are other organizations that are just as dangerous, if not more so now. Allow me to remind you that the Times Square bomber wasn’t affiliated to AQ. “We’re” working on dismantling that organization as we speak.
Now, the futility of killing UBL stated, I completely agree with the Obama Administration’s decision to do it. Shedding all humanity and looking at the ramifications of each decision, killing UBL was really the only way to avoid him becoming more powerful. You know as well as I that our (idiotic) media would cover ever event and occurrence, allowing him a greater platform through which he could disperse his unadultered word than ever before. Unlike Saddam, UBL is an idealogue, so this is vastly unwise. Sure, his fans are angry we killed him, but at least he does not have new legions at his disposal. And, just so you know, UBL himself was influenced by people who developed their philosophies from prison. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/06/02/080602fa_fact_wright
One of those people–Zawahiri, far more violent and fundamental than UBL, and responsible for AQ’s doctrine–is presumed to be assuming command. Coverage on UBL would undoubtedly amplify Zawahiri’s message as he began issuing rebuttals or propaganda based on trials. Again, a bad outcome. He will go the way of Osama, assuming that we continue conducting ground assaults in Pakistan openly.
Either way, ultimately Osama would have died as Saddam did. At least this course of action can limit the collateral damage he’d cause on the way out.
Hope this isn’t too convoluted…it was done in a hurry!
Thanks so much for the thoughtful and informed answer, I am one of the masses informed by blogs, news and Newsweak so anything with more teeth to it is most welcome. I appreciate you taking your time and hope the “training” wasn’t too irksome.
Much aloha and support,
Well, I liked how it was done – clean, quick and final, like any surgeon hopes to do with a cancer. No additional expenses, and no risk of some buddies of his trying to liberate him. Reduces the opportunities for sharks of any kind to circle and feed. I liked that he was unceremoniously dumped in the middle of the ocean too. I don’t care how his loved ones felt, if he had them. I don’t value life that way. I believe we have a responsibity to society and to the health and well being of the planet we live on to make positive contributions to the world. Osama was a man who got that backwards. He was here to destroy. We have people in our country who think that way too, and I don’t care if they die. I think anyone who knows me woudl say I’m a highly empathetic person, but not in that way. Call me a pruner, but I’m for cutting off dead limbs so the tree can get healthier.
I wouldn’t go out and make a big deal of celebrating, and don’t know why someone would. It takes us down a level and increases resentment in our enemies. That can never come to good. The whole thing is just too sad for celebrating any part of it anyway, except for the progress victims have made in recovering. I was aware of small gatherings of celebrations but what I saw were relatively low key and – well unfrotunately that’s just going to happen anywhere.
Having said that, I think that had he lived, people would quickly see that behind the mask was just a paranoid and power hungry little old man, old beyond his years, with a taste for bad TV and a history of allowing hate to eat at his soul.