I’m not a political expert by any means, and I’ll be the first to admit that I only started caring about news in the recent years, so perhaps whatever I have to write tonight is completely off or means nothing to anyone. But let me just process a bit out loud here (and let me know your thoughts as well).
Of course, tonight’s news is monumental. The death of Osama bin Laden? Not many things top that in terms of major headlines for the United States.
Being in New York City, home of the 9/11 attacks, I’m not surprised that so many people are utilizing celebratory words and heading to Times Square or Ground Zero. But something just isn’t sitting right with me about the celebrating and the USA chants and the “God bless America” songs…
And so I realize I need to process some things out loud…
My immediate thoughts and concerns went towards the hate crimes that might ensue. What’s going to happen tomorrow? What will be the impact of this news upon various groups of people? I pray that nothing gets out of hand, that everyone will react to this news with a level of respect and dignity, and that our world will be calm & safe tomorrow.
Is death ever to be celebrated? Violence is violence. I’m not sure I can reconcile celebrating death — even that of an evil man — with my belief in how beautiful and precious life is and how all are in need of saving grace. I constantly think of the hopeful ideal that can be found in Ezekiel 33:11.
Does one man’s death really signify the end of a war on terrorism? (Rhetorical.) Does it really justify billions of dollars spent and millions of lives lost? (Also rhetorical.) I feel that while it’s fine to celebrate, we should remember that we shouldn’t be celebrating the death of an evil man but rather justice, peace, and the lives of those who sacrificed. This war has not been a pretty one; and perhaps it’s because I’m currently working on my Capstone project that revolves around military policies and the impact of this war, but it’s difficult for me to not to feel saddened about broken and even lost lives as a result of all of this.
Again, Osama bin Laden is just one man. He’s a lot more irrelevant than he was back in 2002 or 2003. And his death certainly does not equal the end of al-Queda. And all of this is certainly not the “end of the war on terrorism” — I’m not sure why any news outlet is saying that.
Like I said, I don’t think celebrating is a bad thing. I think this is a step towards potential peace (how far away or feasible that is, I have no idea), and I think it’s important that we remember and honor the many lost lives. I just really hope that everyone down by WTC and out in Times Square and everywhere else around the United States are conscious of celebrating for appropriate reasons. This is the significant moment in our history; let’s acknowledge it with dignity and desire for justice.
Also, I’m glad that the U.S. is dealing with the death in an appropriate manner (in accordance with Islamic practices). It’s so important to treat all of this with immense respect and integrity.
Lastly, because I take my faith really seriously and it’s what I try to base my entire life on — reactions, perspectives, growth areas, etc. — I’m trying to reconcile all of the above thoughts along with all the news and reaction to news with my faith as a Christian. I think that’s probably the largest reason why I find it hard to celebrate the death of one man when millions have died and so much brokenness has happened.
I read a great quote tonight though that helped me remember the bigger picture, and I hope this is an encouragement and reminder to those of us who are American Christians: “So cautious & hesitant tonight. Reminded that there is only one man whose death will right what is wrong in our broken world.”