The jubilation shown by Americans pouring to the streets in front of the White House and other places across the States was met with some reservation and scolding by certain people. While I wasn't feeling particularly jubilant, I didn't think there was much wrong with people expressing jubilation for the removal of a known threat to their way of life and a symbol of their great pain. That's human, isn't it? I thought it was a celebration of "the downfall" rather than "the death of another human." A direct victim of this event explained the complex mix of emotions felt and expressed (via Andrew Sullivan):
That son a bitch killed my friends, colleagues, fellow New Yorkers, fellow Americans, fellow human beings. Worse still, he inspired thousands, if not more, to take up a blind nihilism as their credo, ostensibly in the name of Allah, “the merciful, the compassionate”. All the pain he has brought to this world has not been reckoned and may not be reckoned in our lifetimes. I sat on my couch Sunday night and poured a large glass of Irish whiskey and toasted the death of the man who had tried to kill me. “Fuck you" I said out loud.How can I fault them? Just as how can I fault his followers, people who believe in his doctrine, for expressing sorrow at his assassination? People are just people. If we can't express how we feel without oppressing/stripping each other of the right to live our life (which these people clearly aren't when they gathered to celebrate or to mourn), what are we to do with all them emotions? I fail to see how we can be better human beings by not expressing how we feel within safety reasons?
Then I went upstairs and looked in on my three sleeping children - my oldest born in 2002 - and I kissed them all. Then I settled in next to my wife - my beautiful wife, who will be married to me ten years tomorrow, and who is carrying our fourth child. She for many long hours thought her husband of five months was crushed to death in the towers. I put my hand upon her belly and I closed my eyes and I prayed that Osama bin Laden would know the fullness of Christ’s mercy.
Having said that, as much as we love to demarcate the line between good and Osama, it would be hard to not see the human being (seemingly bent on being a matyr for his "people") in the will he left for his followers and family:
In it, Bin Laden apologizes to his children for his absence in their lives, "You, my children, I apologize for giving you so little of my time because I responded to the need for Jihad," he writes.Extreme circumstances contextualize extreme mind; epigenetics dictate it so. I'd be curious to know what his parents were like at the time of his birth and childhood, given the extreme conditions of the constant turmoil in the Middle East. I bet he felt a lot of unfinished emotional business left for him.
He also instructs his children not to follow in his footsteps - specifically telling them not to join Al Qaeda. He cites precedents from Islamic texts as a justification for forbidding his children to engage in 'holy war'.