Monday, May 02, 2011

I Wonder

I am glad that Osama Bin Laden was killed. I would have been happier if he had been caught alive. I am sure he would have had some interesting things to say about his relationship with America, which started many years before 9/11, but I have always suspected that the "alive" part of "dead or alive" was just a formality.

But no matter how glad I am (I am not really relieved, since I do not think that the death of this man means an end to the resentment that many Muslim extremists feel about their treatment by the West) I am not taking to the streets to celebrate. There is a difference between being glad that justice has been meted out, however summarily, and showing enthusiasm that a man, however ill-intentioned and evil, has been killed. Perhaps I would feel different if I lived near Ground Zero. But I doubt it.

Over the years, Americans (Westerners in general, but Americans in particular) have been quick to exploit the images of flag-burning, animated Muslim crowds after successful attacks on the West and Israel, in order to incite animosity towards those "who hate hate us for our freedom", to show that it is right to hate "them" because we are different from them, we are better, we are human, and "they" are not. I wonder if today Arab televisions were showing images of Americans in the street of New York and in the seats of a baseball stadium exulting at the news of the death of their enemy.

The whole situation only goes to show that there are some things that appeal to the worst nature of people, regardless of their creed, their upbringing, and their education, and that we humans are an interesting mix of good and evil, but far from a perfect one. And if we spent more time focusing on our similarities rather than on our differences, on common interests instead of special ones, and on what makes us human, we would live in a much different world.

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