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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In Which I Weigh In On The Bin Laden Affair 

"I will 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."

Monday morning I woke to news I never expected to hear in my lifetime.

Osama Bin Laden is dead.

The Situation Room as the mission took place
President Obama's and Hilary Clinton's faces say it all

I had gone to bed around 10pm, oblivious to what was about to be announced by President Obama. When I read the news on Twitter, I was stunned, then conflicted. The elusive mastermind behind the attacks on September 11, 2001, the symbolic face of world terror, the soulless puppeteer of countless suicide bombers was dead at the hands of US Navy Seals.

I didn't know how to feel.

What I felt was hollow.

I saw video after video of American citizens celebrating in the streets treating this like a sporting event. And it sickened me. Watching the crowds reveling, chanting and burning images of Bin Laden, I realized we have become the mirror image of the radical religious fanatics with whom we have been battling for ten years.

It felt so wrong. So... unAmerican.

America is America because of our compassion, our tolerance and our nobility. We don't cheer for the death of an enemy as if we've just won a Super Bowl. We just don't. And yet, we did. We exhibited a bloodlust usually attributed to our extremist enemies in non-Christian countries.

We have somehow lost our soul, and that saddens me to my core.

I'm not naive. I know the world and our view of it will never be the same as it was on September 10, 2001. It can't be. Our Ozzie and Harriet World is irreparably broken, but that doesn't mean we have to give up our humanity.

Bin Laden needed to be found, yes. And I'm proud of and thankful for the extraordinary soldiers who skillfully completed the mission. But still, I cannot wrap my head around the revelry.

I'm fortunate not to have lost friends or family in the horrifying events of September 11, 2001. That doesn't mean that day didn't touch me deeply, leaving an indelible scar. Perhaps I would feel differently if I had lost a loved one. Perhaps I, too, would take to the streets, fueling the hatred. Or perhaps I would feel even stronger for a need to heal, to be a source of light instead of darkness, to offer peace instead of war, to steer toward hope instead of hatred, to celebrate life instead of death.

I've grappled with my feelings for the last few days. Today on both the Book of Face and Twitter, people posted the passage at the top of this blog attributing it to Martin Luther King, Jr. His authorship of this quote was refuted, but honestly, I don't give a shit who did or did not pen this. All I know is it eloquently states what I have been struggling to express for two days.

"I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy."

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