Osama Bin Laden’s Death

 There’s going to be a frenzy for a while, but despite that, I still want to add my two cents to all the speculation.

I don’t think there’s any question that an evil man has been taken out of the world. And it took a long road for those involved in getting there. They were brave and persistent and got the job done, pursuing for as long as it needed to take. I think it is also good for the Muslim world because maybe people in the western world can stop equating Al Qaeda with Islam, like judging Christians by the actions of the Branch Davidians, the most insane fringe elements of society.

I know that there was a lot of controversy about a few things: whether or not to show the photos, whether or not Pakistan knew about his presence, whether or not this is the end of the Al Qaeda reality show.

As far as the photos, I just can’t see how showing the photos can possibly be beneficial for anyone? It seems to me that in the age of the reality show that everything is for display. Like Rome, we’ve fallen into the game of bread and circuses, except that the Romans were honest about their decline into the bloodthirsty need for gore. We couch ours in terms like ‘proof’. I want a transparent government. I don’t like having been lied to about weapons of mass destruction, but seeing a DNA test, or even hearing about it is enough for me. The only thing seeing someone’s head blown off serves is my nightmares.

It may serve some people’s need for retribution, but it seems that the obsessive need to view it, only keeps people focused on the anger and keeps us from healing. I know because I find it difficult to let my anger go about a lot of things. I still remember the name of people who pissed me off in junior high. But I have found over the years, that the more I think about my anger, the angrier I get. So, I believe that the only thing that seeing the photos might do is to get people spun up like tops, thinking about Al Qaeda, and the fact that they’re still probably going to be around. And another crazy charismatic leader may replace this one. Maybe not. Maybe we’ll get lucky, and this will mark the decline of Al Qaeda. But I don’t think we’ve heard the end of them yet, because the political and social mire and anger out of which they emerged is still there. The poverty is still rampant, that makes a supported militant lifestyle appealing to young powerless impressionable boys.

And I think that Obama is right that the only effect this will have in the Muslim world is to offend moderate Muslims, and serve as a rallying point for radical meshuggenahs who want to follow in his footsteps.

As far as whether or not Pakistan knew, well, I never underestimate people’s extraordinary ability to look beyond the obvious. Maybe Pakistan’s government did know? Or maybe they didn’t want to believe it, so as long as the monster didn’t stick his head out of the closet, they could pretend he wasn’t there. I don’t have enough details to know, and nor do any of the other speculators. It does seem like this compound should have raised some suspicions, but I can’t really armchair quarterback on that, since the US invented weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that weren’t there, and we bought that falsehood, hook line and sinker.

What I do know is that so many people were hurt by that man’s insanity. The families of terrorism victims are only the most obvious. Muslims in America and elsewhere have been gravely affected by the wave of anti-Arab racism from incorrectly being associated with that schmuck. Associating Al Qaeda or the Taliban with normal Muslims is like associating Hitler with the average Jewish community. I’m Jewish, and I cringe to recall that, but yes, he did have Jewish blood on his grandmother’s side. Evil comes out of anger and hatred, not out of any one group, and the hatred of these radical groups is as much visited on their other countrymen as it is on the West.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating Arab heritage and striving for freedom as is happening in Egypt and elsewhere. I don’t fear the Arab revolution as some are calling it. It is an ancient heritage with much to be proud of: mathematics, astronomy, the preservation of sanitary medical science during the Dark Ages, architecture, and not last or least, somewhere back in the mists of time, the mastery of wine and beer. I hope at least with the face of Al Qaeda gone, the whole world can move on.


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