A young person said to me this morning, “He was our generation’s Hitler, and now he’s dead.” I guess it’s not to me to judge her generation, but I can’t make such a comparison. Bin Laden killed thousands and scared millions as opposed to Hitler’s blatant and mechanic murder of millions, not to mention the difference between a war in a specific place and terrorist acts around the world. Yet I guess I can see what she was saying about this one bad man buried at sea today: he was a symbol of evil, and symbols die hard.
At the same time, I’m of two minds about this big news flash. I think my friend Danny said it best: “I have no problem with Osama being gone, however there will be 100,000 to take his place. It took 10 years for our massive war/spy machine to kill one man, the destruction of two countries, deaths of 100s of thousands, billions of dollars, serious damage to our civil rights and our financial and environmental base and basically to our country.”
Meanwhile, the celebrations. Meanwhile, the questioning of the celebrations. Meanwhile, the wars, violence, fear and terror. So yeah, I’m pleased this guy is dead despite nonviolence leanings, but what his death means seems, beyond the symbolic, feels small to me, like the size of one body compared to the ocean. I ask myself and all of us: is this an ocean of fear or of love, or some strange mix?