Ding Dong…

I guess I should be leaping around singing the song, but to be honest Osama bin Laden’s death is a bit of a non-event for me. Liv called me to her room last night during a potluck I was having with a couple of friends.

“Osama bin Laden is dead! And everyone is celebrating. It’s so weird!” She said. “I know he did bad things, but a man is dead. I don’t see why they should be celebrating.”

“Wow,” I said, feeling slightly wobbly. “OK. I guess it is weird that they’re celebrating.”

I went downstairs and told my girlfriends. I would have been happy for us all to say “good” and get on with dinner. In my mind bin Laden’s death changes nothing. Arron is still dead. Al-Qaeda will continue without him. Surely he was just a figure-head after all these years of living in a cave or a bunker. A Ronald McDonald figurehead with a warped sense of the world.

In my book I wrote that bin Laden was like the villainous, metal policeman in the Terminator movies. He gets shot at and shatters into a million pieces, only to have those tiny pieces all re-merge together again and form themselves back into a very whole villain. The fact that bin Laden is gone changes nothing about the organization – al-Qaeda will not cease to be.

Still, psychologically, I can see how his death could be seen as a symbolic turning point for the families, soldiers in Afganistan, the politicians, the nation as a whole, the world as a whole. Osama represented the dirty, unfair fight, at least in this part of the world. We’ve slain the dragon and now we are all safe again. Except I don’t really believe that we are.

I add my worries to those of many who wonder what the repercussions might be to bin Laden’s death. What nest of vengeful thinking have we stirred now? Is an eye for an eye paid for with yet another eye? It gets us nowhere unless this death can somehow end the cycle of anger and vengeance and more death, which I serious doubt.

And I do have to wonder about the sketchier parts of the story. Buried at sea? Seriously? What’s that about? I assumed there would be pictures of his pale, dead face splashed across newspapers worldwide. And now he’s already been buried at sea less than 24 hours since his death? After all that effort? And what about that bunker? Was not one neighbor just a little suspicious when a massive million dollar cement monstrosity was built next door? Did it really take 10 years for our government to think of watching the courier’s movements? I don’t know, but it feels like there is more to this story that we aren’t being told. That makes me nervous.I think we haven’t heard the last of bin Laden yet.

I wish Osama bin Laden’s death could change things for me, but it doesn’t. Vengeance is a bitter pill that does little to cure any lack of justice.



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  1. Teresa Luttrell May 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I agree with you and Liv. It is weird, to be see people celebrating his death. I found it very disheartening. The quote ‘we are dancing on a volcano’ comes to mind (Jean Renoir, I think).

  2. Shafeen Charania May 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Bravo – well said.

    Civilized people/societies do not celebrate killing. When I was watching the “festivities” in front of the White House after the announcement, I was reminded of similar scenes in the Middle East when American media were trying to show how fanatical Islamists do things.

    In more eloquent words:

    ‎”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.

  3. Rebecca Young May 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Strangeley, when I first heard about Bin Laden’s death, I immediately thought of you.I wondered how you were going to react and how you felt about it all.
    Í have the same feelings as you about there being more to the story. I am very skeptical and don’t believe it’s the “end” either.
    Sending you and your family lots of love.

  4. annie May 2, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Maybe it’s your Canadian showing? No one here can understand the celebrating and are a bit sickened by it. I am too. Because it changes nothing as you say. And I wonder about the lack of body. The DNA evidence being offered already when most people know that DNA testing takes weeks rather than hours. And why the need at all? What about dental records or fingerprints? There is more to the story and it’s amazing to me that so many seem content to take it at face value, but that’s what America has become in the last decade. I fear that we are going to be subjected to more crack down on our freedoms and soon.

  5. Beth Buelow, ACC May 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Abigail, I found your blog through a friend’s post on LinkedIn, and smiled because the same thought went through my mind… “Ding Dong, the witch is dead…” and I never voiced it because it felt completely wrong. When people say that justice has been done, I don’t buy it. And closure? Not buyin’ that either.

    The quote from MLK that Shafeen shared says it all. Killing the bad guys doesn’t bring peace; peace only comes when we remember and choose to see the humanity in each other. So I don’t see us that much closer to peace today… my silver lining comes from the hope that brave and authentic voices like yours ring out and bring more compassion to our world. Peace to you.

  6. Paul Perrier May 5, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Hey Abigail:

    Great post. I was shocked to see ‘mobs’ of people chanting and dancing in the streets after the news was released ? I kept trying to wake myself thinking I was in some strange dream state. Luckily there are rational voices like yours in our world to get the truth out.



  7. Kristine May 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Abby, you put into words what I was feeling when I first heard the news. I was appalled at the pictures on TV of crowds in NYC cheering. I did not feel more safe, but in fact, less so, given the potential provocation to retaliation. I could not link our killing someone to justice but I couldn’t articulate why. You did so brilliantly. Thank you.

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