Monday, May 2, 2011

On Celebrating the Death of Our Enemy

Don't worry, I'm not going to scold you if you are.  It's complicated.

The first thing that strikes me is how I found out about the death of Osama Bin Laden I logged onto Facebook and read it on everybody's status.  THEN I turned on the news.  This is what life is like today.

It was on Twitter that I was subjected to all tweets quoting "Love your enemy"  blah blah blah.  I was even scolded because I made joke about Trump wanting a death certificate. Sorry I thought it was funny - so did most of my Facebook friends.  Another thing I learned.  I have more uptight friends on Twitter than Facebook.

It's all very easy to quote Jesus about loving your enemy when you are not responsible for protecting an entire country against someone who would destroy the nation.  I know my history.  And Christians were pacifists UNTIL they were in charge.  Then it was more complicated.     It seems to me only Amish get to be real pacifists.  And even their freedom to not participate in this society is protected by people who are willing to kill our enemies.

I don't rejoice in the death of Bin Laden or anybody.  But I surely am not going to cry over it.  Nor am I not going to make jokes.   And it did make me feel good to see Americans pulling together and spontaneously gathering and celebrating, even if it was the death of a human being.  Yes some of it was about revenge, plain and simple.  But I think of it was relief and a sense that in some way, this brings 9/11 to some sort of close. 

Bin Laden was a symbol of our weakness, our vulnerability.  Of course we are kidding ourselves to think this is the end of terrorism.   And there will no doubt be reprisals.

And when the crowds dissipate it will be life and bickering as usual.  And we will have to confess that we are weak and vulnerable.  But those people spouting "Love your enemies" are just as arrogant and they need to show a little love and forgiveness for those sinners who relish a little revenge.  Because life is complicated. 


  1. The Trump thing is very funny. Don't let those Twitter killjoys tell you otherwise.

  2. Actually turns out not to be so funny. Tea Partiers already claiming burial at sea is a cover up for a faked death.

  3. I've seen a quote attributed to Mark Twain several places, and it's quite applicable: "I never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."

    I'm entirely unsurprised that there would be various conspiracy theories sprouting up. Something has happened in our culture so that any significant event becomes surrounded by conspiracy theories. There seems to be a wide spread unreality about our reality. It is sad and disturbing.

  4. Tea Party-ers give me a massive headache. I thought the Trump thing was hilarious and so did lots of my friends on Twitter -- but then I follow lots of folks in the healthcare industry as well as the religion biz.

  5. I am not quite old enough to remember VE Day in Britain. But I am old enough to remember when it was still part of everyday conversation as the vast majority of the British population could remember it (including my parents). I can't remember anybody talking about it in terms of revenge. What I do remember is the enormous sense of relief in the words of those who talked about it.

    Yesterday's celebrations over the death of Bin Laden were not exactly the same as the 1945 celebrations. But there were enough similarities for your comment "it's complicated" to be validated. We should not project our liberal angst onto the motivations of those who celebrated so openly. Hypocrisy is a greater sin than openly rejoicing on the death of such a vile enemy.

  6. Yes it's the hypocrisy that gets to me. It's very easy for me to spout "Love your enemy" when it doesn't cost me ANYTHING to love Bin Laden. Okay sure I love him. But what about loving the guy I have to work with who has offensive political views and annoys the crap out of me every time he opens his mouth?