02 May 2011

The Death of Osama bin Laden

Here in USA, the world has been abuzz with the news that a special unit of the U.S. Armed Forces in the Middle East has killed Osama bin Laden in his hideout in Pakistan. President Barack Obama gave a national address around midnight, stressing the painstaking process that it has taken and the sacrifice and courage of many American soldiers and their families.

On campus, students ran outside, waving the American flag, singing the national anthem, gathering in front of the main building, giving spontaneous speeches, shooting off fireworks, and chanting "USA! USA! USA!" into the night air. The flag, singing, and chants continued throughout the next day.

Meanwhile, the world media responded less enthusiastically. Conspiracy theories of faked information arose immediately, then questions as to why bin Laden was killed immediately and buried at an unknown place (the sea?). The discussion was mainly the political ramifications of this event, of both USA and Al-Qaeda.

A handful of us, including myself, wondered at this strange situation. Americans were wildly celebrating the death of one man. The one man had led the act of terrorism that had killed thousands of Americans and shocked USA into high alert. The world was critical and cold to this American mission that Americans called victory and others called raid. 

What is right? Is it ever right to kill a man and celebrate it? No. But what if that man caused and would have caused thousands of others to die? But what has USA done or failed to do, that an enormous, hate-filled organization like Al-Qaeda would arise? An organization so powerful that it can even declare war on entire nations? And what right has USA now to kill? 4,000 Americans died on 9/11/2001; 5,000 more have died in the war that started in Afghanistan; but no one even thinks of the thousands more that died on the other side. Most are civilians; but even the Al-Qaeda terrorists were sons, fathers, brothers. Was war the only way? Is war the only way? Is the American purpose still noble?

I do not know. Perhaps I do not want to know. Perhaps I am afraid of what others may think if I spoke my true thoughts.

All I know is that violence breeds violence, hate multiplies hate, and love and understanding can stop it.

It has been ten years already. I came to USA in 2002; I have not known America in peace. I pray for peace...in all the world. May the powerful use their force wisely.

*Comic relief: "They should have captured Bin Laden alive and made him continually go through airport security for the rest of his life." said John Perrotto via Twitter

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