Monday, May 2, 2011

I Did Not Kill Osama bin Laden

The facebook machine told me of Mr. Osama bin Laden’s death. I picked up a New York Times to read the details. When the news spread late last night, people began to rejoice and I understand their reaction. Outside of the White House people chanted “U.S.A. U.S.A.” and sang the Star Spangled Banner. A woman in Times Square said, “You can’t mess with the United States for very long and get away with it.” A close Rank and File in New York went down to the World Trade Center site to see the hoopla.  He facebooked about the revelers who were throwing around beach balls, the college aged students in “American costumes” and the American flags – one with Marilyn Monroe on it. Today is a day for patriot slinging. I get it.

But another good friend and Riff Raff called me upset.  She understands the revelry too. But only sort of. Celebrate death? How? As Americans we are trained to act as one. We are all Americans. But I don’t buy it. The actions of my government are not my actions. I do not shoulder any of the congratulations or, perhaps, any of the guilt. I did not kill Osama bin Laden.

I do not judge the happiness that people take away from Osama bin Laden’s death. I merely comment on its complexity.

Harry Waizer, a World Trade Center survivor, says “If this means there is one less death in the future, then I’m glad for that… But I just can’t find it in me to be glad that one more person is dead, even if it is Osama bin Laden.”

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