By Lady Arsinoe
Don’t get me wrong. The guy deserved it. He was the mastermind behind the murder of thousands of innocents around the world, not just here in the US.
America has lost the moral high ground, though. Beginning on September 11, 2001, collectively as a nation, we condemned the celebrations in the streets throughout the Muslim world. We denounced the carnival atmosphere in the Middle East as the World Trade Center collapsed. We cried for the murder of over 3000 innocent people. We said, how barbaric it was to celebrate death and destruction in that manner. Those people aren’t human, we declared.
Yet what did we do? Celebrate in the streets that Osama bin Laden was dead. We had a party. He was assassinated in his home in a raid that also killed several other men, possibly even one of bin Laden’s sons, and a woman used as a human shield. And we cheer. We dance in the streets. Who is barbaric now?
Life is precious. As far as we know, this planet is it in the Universe. All life should be cherished and protected. That is not to say that bin Laden shouldn’t have been killed, though I would have preferred to see him face international justice. If the death of one will save the lives of many, only after careful consideration, and with great solemnity, should that life be taken. The nuclear plant workers at Fukushima understand this point very clearly. They gave their lives, in a slow and painful death that will probably take years, for the greater good of the people of Japan and the world. The Navy Seal team risked their lives to bring bin Laden to justice. They wanted him alive, but they had to make split second decisions on the ground. In the end, bin Laden was dead, and so were several others.
Yet the Barcalounger Warriors, who haven’t been off their fat asses in years, cheered. We did it! USA! USA! USA!” like this was a sporting event and their team won, not a surgical strike that killed people. People that had families who loved them and they loved back. Have you looked at pictures of Osama bin Laden? He actually looks like a nice guy. And apparently he was very generous with his friends and family, a loving father, who built roads and schools and hospitals in areas that were poorly served. For some he was a humanitarian or freedom fighter. It’s a shame his twisted views on religion got in the way of his goodness.
So, should we celebrate his death, or lament the fact that the deed was necessary? Should we cheer revenge and call it justice, or mark with solemnity that he has received the fruits of his labors? Mourn those who have died because of this man’s actions? Celebrate the lives that have been saved because of his death, but do not rejoice at his demise.
Osama bin Laden will not be mourned by those of us who find his actions reprehensible. He will not be mourned by those people living with the results of his crimes. He will be mourned by those who hold similar views, that their version of God and religion is better than everyone else’s version. He will also be mourned, at least privately, by those who cherish and celebrate war, destruction, murder, retribution, and vengence. Osama bin Laden became the Boogeyman for many, he became the face of Evil against which, the Good were fighting. With him removed, who or what will take his place?
In addition to our regular academic and news articles, Religion Nerd also offers a forum for the religious “insider.” Lady Arsinoe’s thought provoking articles and commentaries allow RN readers an intimate opportunity to “hear” the voice and perspective of a Wiccan High Priestess.
Lady Arsinoe’s Bio:
I was initiated into the Wiccan spiritual tradition as a First Degree in 1993. Over the years, I continued my studies and increased my involvement. In 2000, the members of OakSpring (www.HouseOfOakSpring.org) separated from Ravenwood to go our own way. In 2006, I became the High Priestess of OakSpring, with my husband serving as High Priest. OakSpring is large by Wiccan standards, and has been blessed to own and maintain our covenstead on 38 acres of woodland in the Metro-Atlanta area.
Like most Wiccans, my mundane life is similar to anyone else’s: I go to work each day (for a large engineering firm), bear with traffic, and go home to relax with my family and pets. Living a magical life isn’t always about the spells; it’s about living in a way that is harmonious with Nature, the Universe, and ourselves. I do my best to live in accordance with Wiccan principles every day of my life. I think that is the best way to show the world what Wicca is all about.