Bin Laden’s death is hardly an ending in the larger story of human justice. So, before we dance in the streets, chant national slogans, and bring back the freedom fries, let us consider the path that has brought us here.
The joy is apparent. The relief is palpable.
Across facebook, twitter, and other virtual and physical spaces, people are rejoicing. Osama Bin Laden is dead.
And I’m nauseous.
As I wrote to a couple friends Sunday night, I knew on some level that this was how people would respond when or if this day came. But, it’s incredibly unnerving to once again realize how much faith we put in violence and retributive justice.
The words spoken Sunday by media anchors and commentators was that we are a generation defined by 9/11. They kept showing the crowd of young people gathered outside the White House who were clearly caught up in the adrenaline and emotion of the news.
And it is emotional. This is a big deal for thousands of people who were directly and indirectly effected, many in completely life altering ways.
Hearing the words of survivors of 9/11 and the family members of those who were killed it is apparent that the pain of that September day is still fresh. It was a major tragedy and no one should minimize their pain.
It is with that same honor in which we hold the memory of the women and men killed on 9/11 and before and since, that we should pause before rejoicing at the killing of Bin Laden.
Bin Laden’s death is hardly an ending in the larger story of human justice.
It may provide solace or closure for some of the families effected by 9/11, although I doubt it. It may prove to be the political turning point in the war in Afghanistan, ending a nearly 10 year old campaign of violence.
But all you have to do is listen to the news anchors, the generals, and intelligence “professionals” to know that nothing has changed for us as a whole. “We still must be vigilant!” That is the cry from everyone in the government and media.
This great “justice” hasn’t changed anything.
It’s still incredibly lucrative to be at war – we’re in three at the moment. It’s still incredibly lucrative to exploit tragedies – Billions have been made exploiting the emotion around Japan, tornadoes in the south, and now Osama. It’s still a rule that violence repaid with violence raises the threat level of more violence.
Let me be clear, I have no doubt that Bin Laden was a dangerous man. And I have no problem with the families of the victims crying out for justice for their loved ones.
But when are we going to stop and consider that maybe the justice we think we desire is, in fact, no good for us?
And when will we embrace the justice of God that provides enough for all? That gives dignity and peace to all peoples? That protects the economic rights of the poor and oppressed? That creates the beloved community in which we can live in creative collaboration?
Until we do, we will continue to celebrate victories that actually put us in more danger.
So, before we dance in the streets, chant national slogans, and bring back the freedom fries, let us consider the path that has brought us here. It is a violent path. A murderous path. A circular path. And one we should flee from with haste.