Scary stories from a lovely place
News everywhere this week has of course been the murder of Osama Bin Laden by a force of American soldiers in Pakistan. While nicely taking the focus off Obama’s truthful place of birth, it has also given Americans cause to celebrate. Pictures of cheering, delighted, buoyant crowds of young Americans gathered outside the White House and the site of the World Trade Centre in New York have been plastered all over news headlines and websites today.
I was pretty shocked when I heard about it. I don’t know why but I thought no one cared that much about Bin Laden anymore. Al Qaeda and the ‘terrorism’ he is responsible for seemed to me to have moved on and morphed into it’s own, separate, entity. His death won’t spell the end of militant Islam, violence, terrorism or racial and religious division and misunderstanding. If anything, it will fan the flames into something larger.
Whatever happened to the right to a trial? Bin Laden has claimed responsibility for the murder of a lot of innocent American citizens back in 2001. But does his murder solve and salve that crime? I guess, for some, it does. What about the other people who may have lost their lives in this attack in Pakistan? Or the thousands of American (and British, Australian and other nation’s) soldiers who have died in the cause of finding him in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since September 11? What are all those lost lives worth? I saw on the day the story broke that Julia Gillard, Australia’s prime minister, described Bin Laden’s murder as justice. I guess those lives are the price of this justice.
I was also shocked by those pictures of people celebrating. I remember having a similar reaction on September 11 2001 when I jigged school and watched the coverage of the crashed planes in New York and Washington. There were pictures of people in the Middle East celebrating the destruction and loss of life. Both pictures sicken and upset me. It’s awful to celebrate and cheer for death and murder.
Someone described the pictures of the people in America celebrating last weekend as an example of rampant Christianity. While I understand what he means by that, I don’t agree that it’s an example of true Christianity, but a distorted and wrong brand. It’s not in line with following Jesus to celebrate death and murder. Christianity is first and foremost about mercy. If only this critical and central tenet of faith in Jesus was popularised and politicised rather than moralism and nationalism.
I saw no cause to celebrate in the news of Obama’s death, nor the news of September 11. As usual I’m wondering the same as U2 in ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’; how long will murder and war and death and other such ugliness feature as lead news stories of countries and families effected by violence.