Monday, May 02, 2011

Death revelry

Spontaneous celebration at the news of Osama bin Laden's death
I suppose I'm portraying myself as a joyless scold, but whatever.

I'm uncomfortable with all the revelry on display in reaction to the news about Osama bin Laden's death. Chants of "USA!  USA!" and cacophonous public renditions of "The Star Spangled Banner" strike me as unseemly, even crass.

I grant that bin Laden's death was necessary.  Just like a grizzly bear that has taken to raiding human garbage pits, some people are simply too dangerous to live.  I certainly think Osama bin Laden fit the bill on that score.

But when society determines that it must take a life, I believe it should be done soberly and purposefully and without passion.

The death of bin Laden evokes emotion.  I understand that.  I can understand relief.  I can understand satisfaction.  But this is not a sporting event.  It is death

New York Times financial writer Diana Henriques said of  Bernie Madoff  "...he is not inhumanly monstrous; he is monstrously human."  It was thus with Osama bin Laden as well.  

So, I'm not going to be joining the triumphant, chest-thumping conversations springing up in offices and schools all over the country today.  Instead, I'll quote Nietzsche:  "If you stare into the Abyss long enough the Abyss stares back at you."

Take a good look, America.  What are we staring at?


MLaFayette said...

I agree with you 100%, my friend. My 'self' did not "rejoice" as such in his death, as well-deserved as it may have been - my mind switched immediately to the ramifications of it instead. Only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

We are a nation of jackals.

Anonymous said...

It's perfectly natural, and human, to feel relieved, exited, even jubulint. As with most endeavors human it is important to maintain perspective and temper those instincts with moderation in thier indulgence.
There's no reason to "blame" oneself for these feelings. You could blame UBL himself for creating a situation for us to have to express our baser instincts.

Anonymous said...

It might be natural to feel jubilant if the death of Bin Laden heralds the end of the campaign of destruction we've unleashed on the Middle East. The national celebration on VE day was not because of Hitler's death, but because the Ware in Europe was ended. Unfortunately, Bin Laden's death ultimately means nothing - American troops and Afghani, Iraqi, Yemeni, Pakistani and Libyan innocents will continue to be killed as our foreign adventures stumble onward toward an ever-receding horizon.

I am grateful for this national outpouring of ecstatic jubilation at the death of Bin Laden for one reason: it certainly puts an end once and for all to the quaint notion that America is a Christian nation. Jesus would rebuke us for this display, were he here to see it.

Anonymous said...

for myself i am afraid that i only felt sadness....i just think the whole thing is very very sad for everyone on some level.