As news of the death of Osama Bin Laden broke last evening, with that peculiar voyeuristic excitement such events take on as we sit nearly mesmerized in front of the television and listen to commentators say the same thing over and over again — Osama Bin Laden is dead, Osama Bin Laden is dead, Osama Bin Laden is dead — the reaction seemed all jubilation. I felt uneasy, I confess, but wasn’t sure if I should. I’m Canadian, after all, not a New Yorker, not an American. But this morning I began to hear others expressing similar dis-ease, in comments on Facebook, in blog posts, places like that. Here’s one piece of wisdom (“Vengeance does not equal peace”) that touched me especially, from Heather Plett, because she spoke to this situation from a place of deep learning of her own.
And then I was running some errands and caught Jian Ghomeshi’s interview with Maya Angelou on Q at CBC. And that was another gift of wisdom on this Monday, nothing to do with Osama Bin Laden, but one sentence after the other in that thoughtful, melodious voice of hers, about being human, getting the job she wanted when no one would give her the time of day because she was “Negro,” saying sorry, how we carry home with us, being a role model, and more. If you have 23 minutes or so, why not have a listen, here. Hers is such a beautiful spirit.
Thank you for your post, Dora. As I was listening to a speech by Obama yesterday, I found myself wondering how things would have played out, had Japan chosen vengeance over peace after the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The impact of terrorism in New York from 9/11 can never be erased or minimized – nor should it be. Yet Obama’s message seemed so one-sided, so small somehow. Certainly there have been and continue to be large-scale tragedies in the world – some intentional and some ‘natural’ like the recent disasters in Tohoku. None of them are justified. We all need one another in this world … love is the answer … violence, vengeance, hatred … they have never changed a thing. And with that in mind, rejoicing in the murder of another, whether it seems ‘justified’ or not … seems far to arrogant for words.
Thanks for the links you shared here in your post as well – very insightful!
Thanks Tracey; I appreciate you reminding us of the choices Japan has made. “We all need one another in this world,” you write. Exactly.
I was dismayed at the glee and jubilation in the voices when various media reported the murder of Osama bin Laden. It must have been similar to the sound from the mobs at the Witch Trials, or the Inquisition, or “give us Barrabas” .
Your last phrase makes me shiver; such a good comparison.