Is it just me or is the shock and exhilaration of Bin Laden’s demise starting to wear off? We’ve waited so long for justice, and when it happened, we rightfully celebrated. But then I’ve kept going back to that image of people dancing after 9/11 and burning the U.S. flag (although I just found according to Snopes.com, it was false footaging), and comparing that to last night’s jubilant crowds outside of the White House and at Ground Zero.
Imagine it from their point of view — not that I’d ever, ever stand up for terrorists — Bin Laden was a mastermind, evil, horrific man who caused so much despicable cruelty; but, those across the world may look at our celebration of Bin Laden’s death with similar horror and disgust. Imagine an innocent young child, growing up in the Middle East with only these images to represent the entire American nation. My brother was only five when 9/11 happened, and at the time we lived 25 miles away from Ground Zero – we watched the chaos from our living rooms – on TV and through our windows. It would have been quite easy to translate those images into a dominant story — all Muslims are this way; they are all out to get us. We didn’t let that happen, of course, but imagine how it could.
I’m not sure what my final point is — it seems overwhelmingly philosophical for a Monday night, and I don’t quite know how to sit with these opposite perspectives – one that supports our nation and is proud of this victory, and the other that recognizes that death is death, and that truth is subjective. Ah, cognitive dissonance.
I’ve seen the following quote on Facebook all day today, and it seems to resonate as the nation sobers from its delirious hangover.
“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.
It’s no surprise that it was spoken by MLK, for he was someone supernaturally gifted at empathy and forgiveness, and I think for us mere mortals who lived through the horrors of 9/11 and relive it often, justice seems so sweet.
What are your thoughts? I’m more than curious!