"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
"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure." ~Mark Twain
Though neither of the above quotes directly correlates to anything current, I've seen them (or some form of them) circulating friends' pages on Facebook, the past 2 days. While contradictory in nature, they both fit my mood since hearing of US Forces' capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden, on Sunday. Having been only 4 blocks away from the WTC during the events of 9/11, I find myself torn on how best to address the news.
While I am somewhat delighted Bin Laden is gone, he became a memory to me, long ago, as I moved past the anger of what happened and began looking at that day as an awakening, both for myself and for the world. It's been almost 10 yrs since so many perished and it all seems surrealistic to me, now. I can feel the rumble caused by the planes hitting the WTC, smell the smokey, ash-filled air, and hear the scores of screaming people running away from the towers as they crashed down. But, in my head, those memories play back like movie clips, scattered and somewhat confused. There are times I feel very close to that day and others, I wonder if I was really there or just drawn in to the media storm that followed.
Thinking back to 9/11 and the unimaginable loss of life, I am hardly appeased by the news of Bin Laden's death. While countless people wave flags of justice, I feel like the news comes too late and is too little to make up for even a portion of what happened. One life cannot make up for the lives of thousands, and I wonder how this path of taking an eye for a multitude of eyes will bring us in to a future of peace. While Bin Laden may have perished, we are no where near bringing an end to terrorism, and the backlash of this week's events could ultimately lead us in to an unthinkable repeat of the events of 10 years ago.
While many rejoice that we've taken a step forward, I feel as if we've taken 2 steps backward. Almost all of the news sources reported the same thing in regards to the mission, in that it was to "kill, not capture" Bin Laden. Though their mission was a success, I have a hard time seeing the justice in forcing martyrdom on 1 not deserving of such a title. The US has, indeed, made a mark on the world as a force to be reckoned with. Our troops are strong and brave, but is it best to pronounce our hatred so loudly? Displays of force, as history has shown us, tend to bring about more displays of force, as there is always a victim to the action. The true strength of a country lies in the health, happiness and prosperity of its' people.
In my opinion, the $450 billion spent in the pursuit of Bin Laden would have been better served assisting those within this country, both struggling from economic loss and due to this year's unstable weather. While the news of Bin Laden's death has brought about closure to so many affected by the events of 9/11, it comes to me with an empty feeling that we are still right where we were, no better off as a country for having put so many resources in to killing 1 man. Just like my memories of 9/11, the media will replay this week's events in ever shortening clips, over and over, until it fades in to surrealism, before focusing it's attention on some other world event. The celebrations will end and we will once again be left wondering what the future holds.