Monday, May 2, 2011

Inner Turmoil and Conflict

As everyone knows, Osama Bin Laden has been killed by US forces in Pakistan.  There was a fire fight, he was shot in the head, and he was buried at sea within 24 hours, as dictated by Islamic Law.

I find myself conflicted in this situation.  I have two sides of me, both equally as passionate.

Side One - Happiness

This man murdered countless innocent people.  I think of 9/11, as well as the other terrorist attacks that he had a hand in, and what justice they must feel.  I think of how I would feel if Michael or Naomi were murdered in this way - how would I handle it?  Would I be happy?  Would I feel relief?  Or would I just want it to be over?  I don't believe in the death penalty, but I am happy that this evil man is no longer among the living.

Side Two - Relief, but sadness

While I feel relief and happiness, I am saddened by how intensly people are celebrating his death.  I think it is appropriate for people to say "I'm glad he's gone" blah blah blah, but some of the comments that I hear are shocking, to say the least.  For example, "I wanted him tortured, torn apart, burned, and spread amongst a pile of shit" and "Burn in hell" take me aback, to be honest.  The intense celebrations in the streets eerily reminded of the middle-eastern countries that had burning flags and dragging bodies through the streets.  Now, don't get me wrong, Americans were not doing that...not even close.  But mass celebrations of a man's death, no matter how evil, kind of hurt my heart.  We, as Americans, are better than that.  And, as far as "Burn in hell" is concerned - for those of us who believe in God, heaven, hell, and the second coming, is it right for us to wish this?  Are we being hypocritical to not wish that he repented the sins that he committed on earth?  What one must remember, if they indeed believe in heaven and hell, is that God states that all sins are created equal, and those who repent will be welcomed into the gates of heaven.

Obviously, none of us knows whether or not he repented, nor will we ever know.  However, I don't want him to burn in hell - and I don't want to see anyone burn in hell.  I want to see all people forgiven of their sins, and to experience heaven, if there indeed is one.  (That's a bit of my cynical side coming out - please forgive my questioning of heaven and hell in the first place).

MLK, Jr. once made this statement (Update:  I found out that MLK, Jr. actually didn't say this, but I like it anyway, so there.):

"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.

I feel that this is a good reminder for us all.  After internal reflection, I have decided that I am relieved, and part of me happy to hear of his death - not for revenge, but to breath a little easier at night.  Will this end all terrorism?  Of course not - but it sends the message that America will not be taken down by cowards who use fear to make a point.

I encourage all, no matter what walk of life, to push down their hatred for this man, and for all who kill out of hatred, spite, etc.  Be relieved that he's gone, but don't let hate consume you.  Life is too short for that, and I want light and love in this world, especially for my daughter.