Monday, May 02, 2011

Transcending bin Laden: Beyond hatred to peace

The death of Osama bin Laden has not inspired me to dance in the streets, chant "USA! USA!" or wave the American flag.

The death we desperately need to be able celebrate has yet to happen.

It is the death of war, fighting and the slaughter of innocents — everywhere.

It is the death of conditions that allow the Osama bin Ladens of the world to rise to power. We need the death of ignorance, hatred, inequality and poverty.

Recall that Osama bin Laden came to power because of his family wealth. Those fortunes were made in a Saudi economy sustained in large part by oil-addicted Americans and American politicians.

And so this wealthy Saudi scion exploited and spread hatred and fear.

He was hardly alone in doing that. Will his death breed more of the same?

Are those dancing in our streets and waving our flag so unlike the vengeance-seeking crowds protesting bin Laden’s death? Are both sides not shackled together in hatred of each other?

And who is exploiting their hatred?

There is no doubt that the death of Osama bin Laden and the public reactions to it are events made epic by the media. The vengeful, the self-serving and the religious self-righteous will feed on the frenzy.

But what is the true significance of this event? How do we derive new meaning and direction from it?

I suggest that American celebrants and the congratulatory politicians — that the protesters and the mourners in the streets of the Middle East — stifle their joy — and outrage — fold up their flags and take down their placards.

Instead take a pause for peace.

Vow to end the hatred and the fighting. Change the world by reaching out to each other. Yes, love your enemy. Make yourselves one for peace and for the "deaths" that will sustain life.

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Blogger Harvey said...

Right on Rick. David Swanson said it well in a statement endorsed by
The complete statement is available at

12:26 PM  

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