My daughter texted me the news. I had come out of meetings, and a friendly gathering. My hibernation from “hard news” complete enough so as not to know of the event that would rattle radios, televisions, blogs, social networks, and tweets around the world. There it was. He was dead, and his body captured. Obama appeared. His speech – sober and direct.
This is a time for reflection; for what we were; what we believed before 9-11-01, what we became, and what we are becoming as a nation. What do we want for ourselves, our children, our future? What do we want to project onto the world? Watching the celebrations, and demonstrations that all but have his severed head being paraded in the streets (and one rather disturbing image of the Statue of Liberty holding up his severed head) it has become difficult to distinguish the the one’s who are celebrating Bin Laden’s death from the one’s who celebrated his architecture.
Within minutes of hearing the news – Osama Bin Laden’s death became as troubling as the deaths he had orchestrated. I am not mourning this one individual – though all life is sacred – the sadness comes from remembering much of the innocence lost that September 11. The rest from the displays being shown now. We are being reached at our base levels; a reptilian part of our DNA – that fight or flight, fear-based level.
As my daughter texted back and forth with me while awaiting the President’s appearance, I began to realize – half her life has been influenced by “the hunt” for this one man – the boogie man who attacked America, and filled millions with fear. This very young girl was yanked from school, and scared beyond belief. So many were. The news reports enhanced feelings that explosions could be erupting at any time, anywhere; that people could run into their school and drop bombs. We were doing as much to terrify ourselves and our children as Bin Laden. Osama Bin Laden was a very real, and very personal threat to a young adolescent mind as well as a nation. The constant bombardment of fear being dished out across from the television, radio, newspaper, and our own government was equally terrorizing. I wondered just how she and people of her generation were affected, and would continue to be affected by not only the news or the legitimate concerns, but the heightened fear mongering. Now we see celebrations across America, and while I recognize some relief, and some feelings of justice, I also recognized blood lust.
We forget, the very people who celebrated the bombings of our innocent civilians, men, women and children – they, too felt justified. They felt a blow had been dealt to a terrible oppressor – The United States. How misguided, yes? As we are celebrating the death of Bin Laden – remember – people across the Middle East, innocent civilians, men, women, children were lost in the search for this man. Their families are watching how we behave. What we portray. Their loss is no less significant to a Creator of all that is living.
Bin Laden brought about his own demise, and I will not miss him. Nor will I focus my attention on him. We have an chance to end a cycle of being victims, and victimizers here with some sober thinking and an open heart. I pray that we take a step back, and seize that opportunity.