Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama, We Hardly Knew You

Osama bin Laden was a person who is hard not to demonize. He may well have deserved to die the way he did. He started a terrorist enterprise that has killed thousands of people, most of them Muslim. For him, the ends always justified the means. He's a great example of the danger of religious belief running amok.

But we hardly knew this man, and we shall never know any more of his story, because he can't tell it. While President Obama can claim that justice has been done, I'm not so sure, because the case has not been proven for this "justice" killing. I hope that the case is made, a speaker for the dead, for bin Laden and the people his actions killed. The pre-meditated killing of Osama bin Laden appears a lot like murder, even though he pretty much deserved what he got.

Rejoicing? Dancing in the streets? Jubilation? I am troubled by that reaction to his death. Bin Laden's death brings none of his victims back to life. It fills no empty space at the dinner table. It fills no lonely arms. His death is not something to celebrate, maybe something to thoughtfully consider, to mull, to tease out details of a life we hardly knew, and the lives of those who are lost to us now. But please, no rejoicing.