2.5.11

Why I Won't Be Celebrating Bin Laden's Death

A man is dead. Most of "us" would not say he was a good man, but there are many of "them" that will. Regardless of what kind of man he was, or perhaps intrinsically because of the kind of man he was, there will be an aftermath to his death - of that we can be certain.

Many are celebrating. I will not.

Why not?

1. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." Romans 12:19
Had he been killed ten years ago, when he remained an imminent threat after his declaration of personal war against Christian nations, it would've been an act of war. Killing him ten years later is an act of vengeance only. What has been accomplished? Will it bring back the dead? Will it end the fighting? No. I think we can agree that in actuality nothing has been accomplished by his death - other than the American government finally carrying out their threat to kill him.  His death now is an act of vengeance only. As someone who doesn't believe in the death penalty (though trust me individual cases stretch me on that) I can't support killing even world enemy number one.

2. "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:20-21
Ours is not the first generation to be torn by religious fanatacism. Many religions were born of war; many religious leaders were military leaders. It's a story as old as time. And the Bible is full of it.  While it's not The Art of War, the Bible contains plenty of insight on how to defeat enemies. Again, what his Bin Laden's death accomplished? I said nothing, but that's not true. What it's done is created a likely rallying point for others of his ilk. One man has fallen; ten will take his place. Have we forgotten the crusades? Do we neglect to remember Christianity's birth by blood onto the world scene? Although we don't remember the names of any of the leaders of those battles, their death surged the soldiers of Christ forward even more. To them the enemy was not a person, but a lamb set for slaughter.  Religious fanatics believe they are serving as the hand of God. Reacting with further violence, especially directed and targeted violence will not slow them. It will only incite them further. Showing them God's will in us, however, may serve to give them pause before the killing blow. If we concentrate more on building schools, providing aid, and atttempting to understand the place from which our enemy is coming we have the ability to cut off fanatacism before it starts. There will always be lunatics in the world and God will always be used as an excuse for evil, but the power behind an individual lunatic lies in his ability to persuade others that he is acting as the hand of God. The ONLY way to prevent that is to offer an alternative view of God's work - to feed the hungry, quench the thirst, and overcome evil with goodness.

3. It's not over
Why celebrate the end of nothing? Bin Laden's death has ended his life, and a small part of the American military schedule. But it has not defeated Al Queda and it will not prevent future terroritic acts. I fear it will have the exact opposite effect. What is there to celebrate? Are you feeling at peace today? Do you feel safe and secure because of one man's death? If so, I envy you.

28 comments:

  1. I have a mix of relief & fear. The fear far outweighs the relief. I wish this could be the harbinger of our troops coming home. I fear that things are only going to get worse. My biggest, selfish fear is that my husband will be dragged directly into whatever comes next.

    The most good I'm seeing right now is that a decent amount of the news coverage is bringing up the fact that Osama bin Laden was a murderer of Muslims, too. Maybe fanatics will finally realize that Muslims are not our "enemy."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you. These are very much my thoughts. I would only add, that perhaps in a world where we feel that it is our duty to pour our wrath out as 'required', that we are not leaving room for God's wrath, who I believe is capable of so much more, and can be trusted to be just...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I understand what you are saying and I understand your point, but I think people need to understand the impact 9/11 had on not just my country, but the world. I think or at least hope the reason why we are celebrating is the fact that we finally found the person who masterminded such an act of terrorism. We know it's not going to end terrorism. We know it may be exacerbated. But we're human. To feel like the military is making some headway and feel some justice over his death is to be expected.
    I live less than an hour from the city and though I knew no one there, nor any military or service men and women, 9/11 still has an impact on me. It still hurts to think about it. I think we're allowed to celebrate without being judged to be happy a man who killed so many people is dead.

    We're not celebrating because it's over. We are celebrating because it's just another step. One more small step. When Hitler was killed we didn't think it was the end, or when Saddam was captured. We wont feel any different with Bin Laden.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I actually feel more trepidation than before. This only injects new blood into an already diseased body and gives it a much longer life.

    ReplyDelete
  5. But the military has done great things already. This one act of a special forces unit is not worth more than all their other accomplishments, in my eyes.
    I don't mean to belittle the fact that they finally found him, but to celebrate it too much is to belittle everything else they have done.
    And it scares me. I know taking him alive and subjecting him to an International Tribunal would have been setting them up for even more attacks by all those trying to free him, but summarily killing him will welcome just as much in retaliation AND was not the right thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Steve, exactly - I fear this will cause an upswelling of retaliatory efforts from people who may not have involved themselves - but to them the act of the American gov't in secretly invading and killing a member of their society is an act of war, no matter how justified.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Dana, I too fear for the men and women in the military and their familes. I fear for the people over there now - in the midst of the turmoil this will cause - and those who will be called back. I think this will only prolong the antagonism.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Sarah: yes it is so hard for us mere mortals to know what God has planned for us and I'm sure those who decided upon and committed to this course of action felt that they were acting on the part of God - but so did Bin Laden. What fanatics fail to realise is that God works through us; He does not call us to do His work.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well said, Dara, and a brave thing to post. All I can think is what a huge step backward this is for humanity, and I have a deep sense of grief over it - not for bin Laden himself, but for whatever was left of the shreds of western "civility." I feel like I'm the only person left who still has a pin with "An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind" on it. Why am I bothering to teach my kids that two wrongs don't make a right? Why couldn't the US have brought bin Laden to trial for his crimes?

    (I said as much when they executed Saddam Hussein, too, for the record.)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I won't be celebrating either. Just doesn't seem right. Your thoughts are much like mine on this matter.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Andraea: Well, I've only lost one blog follower over it, though the day is young...
    I know exactly what you mean, I feel incredibly sad about the whole thing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Jacqueline: Like Andraea, I feel more prone to mourning than celebrating.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I looked at the photographs this morning on news sites of thousands of Americans celebrating and waving flags and wanted to weep.

    Vengeance, jingoism, whatever you want to call it, I don't think it's good, I don't think it says anything good about human nature, and I don't think it does anything to ease global tensions or hostility towards the US and the West in general.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for this brave post. I agree with your thoughts. I don't feel comfortable celebrating the death of someone, no matter who it was.

    Kristen

    ReplyDelete
  15. I agree, although for slightly different reasons. I would much rather have seen Bin Laden captured alive and bought to trial for his crimes, a bullet through his head was a quick way to die and he will now forever be a martyr. I don't doubt that whilst I am typing this, hundreds more disillusioned young Muslims are raising up and joining Al Queda, there will be much more blood shed in the future.

    Secondly, I am have a real issue with celebrating someone's murder, as you put yourself this, 10 years later, is no longer an act of war so therefore in my mind he's been murdered. Whilst I won't mourn him, I worry that we live in age where people can dance on his grave so quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I also don't think it is cause for celebration, but didn't dare say so, as I didn't have the great words you have. Instead I only made reference to it in a pun: http://newmumonline.blogspot.com/2011/05/my-bin-is-laden.html

    ReplyDelete
  17. A really interesting read. It's something that's been weighing heavy on my mind all day today and I blogged about it earlier today but haven't published it for fear of attracting the wrong sort of attention. It was more a blog of how I felt today compared to 9/11. You've given me food for thought that I may be brave enough to post it so thanks for that. If I do, I'll be sure to link back.

    I share a lot of your concerns even though my initial reaction was that I was glad he was dead I've since had chance to think about it - I guess because it's a national holiday here today and we haven't done much so think about it I have. A lot.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well said Dara. My first reponse to dh was when the US should expect a counter attack! It is all scary stuff and how does killing one man help anybody?

    Mich x

    ReplyDelete
  19. What everyone (who is celebrating) appears to have forgotten - or is choosing to ignore - is that for every Bin Laden there are 100 others who will take his place and wreak far more vengeance for his death.
    To believe that he was the sole mastermind behind the terrorist plots and the main driver for radical Islamic fundamentalism across the globe is to live a very blinkered life indeed.

    LCM x

    ReplyDelete
  20. Couldn't have said it better. Obama may be on TV claiming the world is a safer place but I believe it just became a whole lot more dangerous.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Bin Laden died years ago because of kidney failure - the Navy Seals go into the heart of Pakistan and kill Bin Laden and bury him at sea within twenty four hours? Hello??

    ReplyDelete
  22. The fact that it took nearly 10 years after 9/11 for this to happen does not automatically mean that it is vengence as opposed to an act of war. I believe it is an act of war for as long as he was alive he still had the capability to inflict more damage, more terror and more killing.

    Most people are not celebrating the act of killing someone. They are celebrating the end to the person behind the deadliest attack on American soil; celebrating the end to someone who, by eluding capture, became a symbol of cunning and strength to the muslim world; celebrating the end to further attacks planned by this monster.

    Certainly this did not end terrorism, but every journey begins with a first step. For those that think this would end if only the United States showed the Muslim world how nice and caring we are or if the United States would leave the Middle East don't understand the mentality of who we are fighting. They HATE the United States not because of our foreign policy, but because of who we are.....because of our freedoms, because of our culture.....they have said as much.

    This is a war of cultures and they will stop at nothing to establish a caliphate(islamic state)..they have said so.

    I believe things will get worse before they get better. Until leaders at all levels start worrying more about the safety of this country instead of worrying about appeasing a group that has told us what they intend to do. Apparently,too many people don't believe them or take them at their word. Instead, the appeasers in this country try to force the rest of us to give up through political correctness.

    Last, to those that question why he couldn't be brought to trial. He was firing at our soldiers to the end, even using his wife as a human-shield. He was not going to give up until he was dead. He got what he wanted and deserved.

    ReplyDelete
  23. A really interesting read and thought provoking post. I have thought a lot about this today and have similar thoughts. I had a knee jerk reaction to the news story which was 'good riddance' but as the day worn on and I thought about it, I realised that it isn't very Christian to be rejoicing the death of another human being. I don't think that 2 wrongs make a right. The Bible teaches forgiveness and empathy for others. Bin Laden himself was once an innocent child born into this world without evil intentions inside him. He became a product of radicalisation and his culture. I obviously don't understand or condone his actions and all of this sits uneasy with me. I am scared for what's to come.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Excellent post. I agree completely. Celebrating over death is wrong. Vengeance is wrong. It may feel good when you are still suffering from a wrong done to you, but it does not make it better. Also, it seems very simplistic to act as if OBL's death is the end of anything.He may have committed atrocities, but making any one person into a symbol of evil does not bring any good to the world. The only way to make this situation better is to begin to treat anger with kindness, hatred with love, etc. Brilliant post, Dara. As always.

    ReplyDelete
  25. HIs death has really stirred-up a lot of debate and emotions. Really intrigued by your take on the whole issue. Celebration, particularly the cheerleading teens, did make me feel uncomfortable. His death I feel deserved, but like VBored I would have liked to have seen him go to trial.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I feel very uneasy about the whole thing to be honest. They length of time it took, the way in which it was carried out, the fact that it was done in front of young children, that his body was immediately buried at sea and very much so at the way people were celebrating in the streets.

    A capture and trial would have been much better in my view.

    ReplyDelete

Have something to add? Let us know: