Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, Michael exclaimed “Osama Bin Laden is dead!” (not in an excited way, just surprised). I was not sure how to process this information. I sat awake for a few minutes, while feelings of sadness, relief, loss, grief, and worry washed over me. The last thing I remember thinking was “Oh my. I bet everyone is celebrating and flaunting this, and that terrifies me.”.
When I got to work this morning, the information was still swimming around in my head. No one said anything about the situation, so I went about my morning. As I eventually got around to glancing at my Facebook and Twitter feeds, my stomach started to tighten. Not surprisingly, people were celebrating. Everyone was jumping up and down with joy, proclaiming pride in their country, waving flags, and telling the world how we’re #1. And I felt like I was going to vomit.
I know that the attacks on our country almost 10 years ago were devastating. I am very well aware of the impact that they had on us as a nation, and as human beings, and I will never forget that morning, where I was, and how overwhelmed I felt. I know so many people’s lives were completely shattered that day. I am also aware of the militaristic viewpoint that Osama Bin Laden ‘needed’ to be killed, and that he has been hiding from this fate for years now. So, we found the man, we killed him. “Mission accomplished”. Regardless of what actions he may have or may not have taken against our country, this man is another man. WE are all the SAME. For those of you who are religious or believe in a higher power, isn’t it “God” who is the one that does the sorting out, the judging, the deciding of who gets to live and/or make it into heaven? We have all be placed on this planet together, and it is my understanding that it wasn’t so that we could kill each other. We are involved in so many wars, and fights, and violent battles with so many other people right now…how does it make sense to celebrate more blood shed? We do it anyway, I know. Everyone wants power, everyone wants to feel like they have control. Human beings are ego driven, and we all want to rule the world. It is not ours to rule.
All I could muster the thoughts to say this morning was “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”. Which I wholeheartedly agree with. If we kill them for killing us, why would they not just turn around and kill us some more? And so on and so on. I am terrified, to my very core, that by seeing our celebrations of this event, that they will be as taken aback as we were when we saw them cheering in the streets after 9/11. What will happen then? Will they just take it in stride, chalking it up to America being the superior country, or will they do what we did, and spend the next 10 years seeking revenge? I am afraid to find out. I am afraid to bring children into this world, and to have them find out.
We are all struggling right now. Our planet is changing, the weather is changing, human beings are changing. Violence does not seem to be changing, and yet we think it’s the answer. Has violence and killing gotten us all to a happier place this far? Maybe we should try something new? So we killed one man who is responsible for some really bad things. Does that make history re-write itself? Does that make the bad things go away? Does it in ANY way prevent this from happening again? The circumstances that brought about the hatred, the attacks, the anger and the willingness to kill are all still in tact. We did not destroy the hatred. We did not go back and give these people their lives back. We did not heal the suffering, the grieving, or the pain that everyone in this country felt when we were attacked. All we did was inflict that upon another country. Best case, we managed to give some Americans closure, and we sure helped our current political office look like heroes. Worst case, we poked the angry bear, and we can only sit back and wait to see what happens next.
Our military did their job, and I don’t blame them in any way. Our President did his job, and I don’t blame him either. I don’t blame anyone, but I do feel a great sense of loss, and sadness. To watch everyone talk about how proud they are of their country for killing a man, who has a lot of children that very well might grow up to come back at us full force, that just baffles me.
The other night we watched a TED talk on security. I thought of it almost instantly this morning, and how relevant I feel it is to what is going on. In the video, Bruce Schneier talks about perceived security versus actual security. In my opinion, the act of killing Bin Laden is a way to make us feel secure, when in reality, we are no more secure. The things that actually would make us more secure would not make us feel more secure, so they go unreported. I highly encourage everyone to watch this video, it’s a good one.
We are ALL human beings, and until we can step back, and get some damn perspective on that, then we are screwed. If we keep seeing the other countries and other people as “them”, and thinking they are our enemies, this will never end. There is enough room, and power, and resources for all of us to get along. Hell, think of just how many of those precious resources we could be saving if we were working together instead of being at war. We are all the same. Those people were raised differently than we were, but we’re all still people. Together, on this planet, fighting the same fight, never giving up on killing each other.
What if, just what if, we used all that energy/money/effort/planning to figure out a way to make the planet better, healthier and more sustainable for our children? That sounds like something I could get behind, and be cheering about. Why is this so impossible? Why are we so hell bent on destruction? I am in no way saying what they did, or what we did was wrong. It is not my place to judge. I just wish we could get some perspective, and think about what we are doing, what we are teaching, and what we are leaving for our children.
[I’m sure many of my friends and family are disgusted with me and my lack of “patriotism”, but I honestly don’t care. I think that someone needs to talk about this stuff, and if it costs me friends, then they aren’t good friends anyway.]