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Celebration or Emotional Outlet – the Death of bin Laden

May 3, 2011

As the emotional impact, dare I say shock, of the news of Osama bin Laden’s death reverberates around the world, many seem gripped with awkward hesitation over the reactions in the USA and around the world. The news media adorns news stories with pictures of jubilant celebration in America, particularly in New York City, the ground zero location of an event even more shocking to the world. Yet there are others who find celebration of his death as being inappropriate. On Facebook, a wall post circulates that reads, “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. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.”. At the most extreme of celebration are those who post graphic and bloody images of OBL, and at the other extreme are those who call for retaliation by shedding real blood of more Americans.

However, are the celebrations really that of the death of a man, or namely an outlet of emotions for a near decade long string of events which has affected most everyone around the globe. I ask you, since that fateful day on 9/11, what single event has provided anyone with a sense that true justice has occurred? The election of 2008 promised change, but has only locked the masses in a struggle to sort through political propaganda. The toppling of dictators in the Middle-East has brought similar hope for positive change, but those areas have yet to realize any substantial improvement for those oppressed and those hoping to see the implementation of a new and more righteous ideology. To many, this event, this news, this moment of relief is less about the death of a single man, but rather is an outlet at a time when world unrest seems inevitably infinite. Is it really so unhealthy to let out a primal scream to help restore some sense of sanity? Is it really so hard to understand why some individuals tear up at the news as tension from deep within their psyche are released by the news that an individual, symbolic to the line in the sand drawn on 9/11, will no longer be able to cast a shadow over those with peace in their hearts?

To those who shout with celebration the death of OBL, I only ask that you remember this feeling when you see others celebrate the death of an American. Perhaps their emotions are affected by symbolism, as those who promote America as being the devil have falsely instilled in them a sense of injustice.

To those who complain that Americans are celebrating, I only ask that you be equally outspoken when an American is murdered in an act of terrorism or because of some ideology/theology – especially so when the body is desecrated in some manner, such as being beheaded and dragged through the streets. Perhaps your words today will be granted more credibility when they are equally applied in such cases, and when roles are reversed.

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