Monday, 2 May 2011


“I 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.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

The news in the last couple of weeks has been rather dismal and unfortunately, the indications are that things will get worse before they get any better. Economic woes, more revelations of radiation contamination in Japan, a host more natural disasters, the devastation in Alabama wrought by the wild tornadoes are all stories that affect every sensitive person’s psyche in ways that interfere with the way that each of us deals with everyday existence. The search for safety valves and the attempt to release all that tension and quest for some good news stories was exemplified by the near hysteria that accompanied the royal wedding and the scenes of wild elation and abandon that was evident not only in the UK, but the world over.

However, dominating the news in the last two days is the death of Osama Bin Laden (March 10, 1957 – May 2, 2011). This has saturated the media and one cannot get away from the images of that well-known bearded face with the suggestion of a smile that somehow chills the marrow of an onlooker. The circumstances surrounding the execution of Osama Bin Laden have attracted much criticism, as has the reaction of wild elation that accompanied release of the news in the USA, especially. The quote that I started this post with, which I read sometime ago has stayed with me and it seems extremely apt under the present circumstances.

One cannot but deplore the thousands of lives lost as the result of terrorist actions instigated by extremist organisations driven by directives from leaders who thrive in a culture of hate and terror. Whether they are Christian or Muslim, Hindu or Atheist, hate engenders hate as Martin Luther King, Jr indicates. Some crimes are heinous and generate within us extreme reactions of revulsion and disgust. People affected personally by the violence, those who have lost loved ones yearn for justice and quote Mosaic law: “An eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth”. Blood shed seeks the revenge that can only be satisfied by shedding even more blood. Vendetta mentality in the past wiped out whole families and made once populous villages ghosts of their former glory.

There are those who already doubt that Osama Bin Laden is dead. The conspiracy theorists thrive in times such as these and under such circumstances. According to them, Osama Bin Laden is alive and well keeping company with Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. The American task force that carried the execution apparently has incontrovertible proof of his death. However, the burial at sea and disappearance of the body have added fuel to the conspiracy theory.

Our world changed with the fall of the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11 2001. This terrorist attack that resulted in 2,752 deaths killed more than people. It wounded a nation’s pride, it created a sore that still bleeds in the people of the USA and an ulcer that fails to heal. Will Osama Bin Laden’s death help scarify these wounds? Will Al Qaeda be defeated or is this latest action engender even more violence, more terror, more destruction? Is this an end or a new beginning of even more abominations?


  1. I feel the news media (and not just ours here in the states) has blown the "celebration" of Bin Laden's death all out of proportion. From what I can determine it was the young emptying the bars and dancing into the streets in New York City.

    9/11 was the first bump in charmed lives of that generation. He was their boogie man and he was dead. Still his body was not hung from the portico of a hotel for days like Mussolini's at the end of WWII.

    Most American citizens behaved quite quietly. For us the report of his death was closure. Not unlike hearing the pronouncement of Ted Bundy's successful execution whether you believe in capital punishment or not.

    And I certainly do not believe (even though I do go along with some conspiracy theories) we faked this. I understand the burial at sea was in keeping with the Muslim tradition of burial within 24 hours and that at sea his body would not risk being dug up and mutilated.

    As for the eye for an eye bit that seems to pervade several major religions in the world Bin Laden argued that 9/11 was an atonement for sins of the American people. GW called our invasion of Iraq a holy war. But that we could have put both on a gallows and hung both at the same time.

  2. I dread to see the consequences of this action now. I am sure there will be a violent reaction...
    As Jacqui says above, there have ben serious errors on both sides and as much as we can hope this latest reprisal "evens out the score", vendettas are notorious for a fight till the bitter end...

  3. Martin Luther King, Jr was correct. You cannot go murdering unarmed people. And in any case, the death of bin Laden doesn't serve anyone's cause.

    I think that Osama Bin Laden should have been brought to trial, in the Hague, before the most serious, learned and neutral genocide judges in Europe. The evidence, provided by witnesses and written records, would have provided accurate and irrefutable history on his crimes.

    As it is, we have no idea if Osama Bin Laden had anything to do with the massacres in Bali, New York, the London Underground, Madrid etc etc. I can imagine that within a generation Osama Bin Laden's reputation will be whitewashed, simply because there was no trial in 2011.

    Adolf Eichmann was given a fair trial in Israel in 1961. The records from his trial stand as rock solid evidence, tested and confirmed, for all time.

  4. Oh yes NIc, I do hope we don't get another spate of terrorist attacks now....

  5. Hear, hear ... to reiterate and reflect on both your blog article, and Jacqui's comments above ... move me, too ... thank you.