Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Justice not revenge.

I have been a little confused on my feelings about the recent news of Osama Bin Laden's death.  Justice most definitely has been served in his particular case. However, the celebrations in the streets for his death have surprised me actually, and have made me a little uncomfortable.  The coverage on the television of the American people waving flags and destroying pictures of him are so similar looking to the anti-American protests we see all over the world.  The comparison of those types of photos are disturbingly familiar.  We have long pointed to those photos of protests against the U.S. in other counties as evidence of how unreasonable, irrational,  and backwards those people are... and yet...  here we are doing the same thing. I enjoy and feel pride when I see a celebration of patriotism, but I am not sure that the death of a human is something that should be celebrated.  Maybe it is just my usual understanding of the word celebration that is hanging me up, and how it normally is tied to a joyous event.

I personally feel more of what can best be described as a sense of relief than a need to celebrate.  Do not be mistaken.  I am patriotic. I love this country and it's philosophy,  ideals, and goals as set out and struggled for throughout our history as a nation.  I watched the horror of the burning towers, the people leaping to their deaths out of windows... some holding hands... others simply falling through the smoke filled sky with hair, ties, skirts flowing in the wind behind them.  I close my eyes and I can still see them today.  I watched as the towers crumbled to the earth live on the television like so many other Americans.  I listened to the voice recordings of the brave people on Flight 93 as they called loved ones and prepared to fight back.  I was angry at the circumstances these 40 passengers and crew found themselves in.  In the same instance I was  very proud that because of their brave actions, and because of their eventual ultimate sacrifice the attack on the U.S. Capitol was stopped.  The bravery of these Americans prevented who knows how many more deaths.  

I wept for our loss.  As many Americans, and frankly other citizens of the world, I am still waiting for the actual completion of a monument that has been promised since that tragic day at Ground Zero. I am also wondering why it is taking so long.  Additionally, I have waited for the day that justice would catch up to Osama Bin Laden because I always knew it would.

That day has come. Justice has been served.  However, he was one voice of a large group of fanatics.  Granted his voice carried a lot of weight and he has now been silenced... but has he also then been martyred? We must remain vigilant, maybe even more so than before.  We must stand strong.  This was not a revenge killing, this was justice.  I feel we must be mindful of that distinction, and we must show the world that we know the difference.

In searching around the web I found a few quotes that fit how I have been feeling since hearing the news.  I have included them below.  

“It’s not the celebration on the day of the death of an enemy that exemplifies justice, but how we choose to live the day after.” 
~Rabbi Noah Farkas
Judgment for an evil thing is many times delayed; some a day or two, some a century or two, but it is sure as life, it is sure as death.
~Thomas Carlyle

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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