Monday, May 2, 2011

A Night Already Devoid of Stars

      Yesterday, after watching Americans flock to public spaces in celebration of Osama bin Laden's death, I posted a quote from Proverbs on my Facebook page: "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles. Proverbs 24:17"  A friend took issue with my post, saying that it was a judgmental use of scripture against those who would celebrate.

     I sent him an email, some of which said:
     It (my post) was intended, rather, as a reminder to be wary of our actions, both outward displays and also the inner actions of our hearts.  The fear and anger inspired by the (9/11) attacks, though justified, have been identified with one man.  That's what worries me most.  Osama bin Laden has been turned into an object of fear and hate (in much the same way that America has been objectified by al-Qaeda to represent vanity and excess), and I take issue with the objectification of any person, no matter the evil they may have committed. Objectification dehumanizes both parties, the one who has been objectified and the one doing the objectification. 

     What's more, if you take a look at what some of the families of victims are saying, this event brings no closure for them.  One more man's death does not bring a beloved family member back.  It doesn't rebuild the towers.  (And in my opinion it still doesn't justify ten years of war.) 

     Revenge is a childish reaction, as is taking joy in it, and for this reason I cannot say I am surprised that most of the revelers last night were college students.  It is much harder, but much more adult, to choose the path of forgiveness and mercy.  I am disappointed, yet not surprised, to see our country once again represented to the world as one of childish reactionary impulses. 

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