It’s difficult to imagine just how much our lives are going to change, now that a shadowy figure many thought was dead already is now officially dead, but judging by the coverage already it’s clear that it’s going to have a massive impact on all of us. Not in the sense of some of the ludicrous limits to our freedom imposed by governments since Obama Bin Laden’s September 11 2001 attack finally being rescinded and a degree of normality being restored – because that’s not going to happen. Those freedoms are gone for good. But because it’s the kind of death which can make the rest of us feel really great about ourselves.
For starters, it’s about time that we got to dance around in the streets cheering the death of a hated foreigner. It’s one of the things we all envy the most about the Middle East, the chanting and waving of fists, and finally we get to do some of that of our own. Booyah, as our side says. And as the happy crowds outside the White House at the moment demonstrate, there’s nothing like standing about in a mob with fellow citizens and feeling really powerful because your country was able, after only a decade, to kill a guy who turned on you after you originally armed him and set him up.
And Osama only has himself to blame. If he’d just walked out of that cave with his hands up when they demanded he surrender, then he would still be alive, and be on his way to prison to be held pending a proper trial for his crimes. He chose not to accept the offer of a fair trial when the soldiers announced they were taking him into custody, I assume, so no-one should be surprised that they were forced to regretfully cut him to pieces. Not for revenge, but because he was coming right at them holding an AK-47, as usual.
I propose a national holiday to celebrate this glorious victory, and not just because it’d be nice to get another day off a week after ANZAC day.
UPDATE: Check out this heartwarming footage of a mob of US cadets being encouraged by their commander.
UPDATE #2: Or, to put it another way:
UPDATE #3: Psychology Today on The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Osama Bin Laden’s Death:
It is hard not to think that some of the impulse to celebrate “justice being done” may also contain a certain pleasure in revenge–not just “closure” but “getting even.” The world is not safer with Osama Bin Laden’s violent demise (threat levels are going up, not down), so no cause for celebration there; evil has not been finally removed from the Earth, so no reason for jubilation on that count. The War on Terror goes on, so there is no closure in that regard. The truth is that “celebrating justice” when one person is killed–as happens regularly in the gang wars of American cities–only incites further desire for revenge, which, from “the other side’s” viewpoint, is usually called “justice.”
Think of it. If a leader in our country were killed by another government in the manner in which Osama Bin Laden was killed, as “justice” for his acts of aggression in the War on Terror–and people from that other country were shown proudly chanting the country’s name, singing their national anthem, and demonstrating in the streets–Americans would likely feel more sickened than joyful, don’t you think? The impulse to celebrate a death depends on what side you’re on.
We will only have peace when we stop the cycle of jubilation over acts of violence.
Who will stop the cycle? If not us, who? If not you and I, who will it be?
But they started it! They started it! Why do we have to be the adults?