Monday, May 2, 2011

If You Can't Say Anything Good...

Today, going through my Facebook page, the only thing that came to my mind was a German proverb, saying "If you can't say anything good about the dead, don't say anything at all" (it is my current Facebook status; in German, since the hubby wanted to avoid extensive FB wars almost sure to ensue).

Of course, all this refers to the death of a person hated and hunted as few in the last years. But seriously, public parties to celebrate a man's death?? Barack Obama calling it "good news", David Cameron said he was "happy", and our very own Secretary of State, Guido Westerwelle was "celebrating the very good news". Again, seriously, people?

No doubt, Osama bin Laden was not necessarily a good person. He caused a whole lot of grief and sorrow to many, many people. One may hold him responsible for the general anti-Muslim movement in the US; please don't forget that Muslims were among the victims during the 9/11 attacks, and their families now have to deal with the doubled burden of having to do without a loved person AND being Muslim in the US. He caused death, upheaval, and chaos, but beneath all this, he lived and died for what he believed, and this is more than many people can say of themselves. Osama bin Laden was born into a rich family, enjoyed an excellent education in the West, but turned to fundamentalism at some point, which started his career as being outcast, banished, hunted.

But for all the bad things he has caused, we cannot forget those who are now grieving for him. He had a number of wives, children, and grandchildren, who are now mourning the loss of a loved one. Am I the only one who thinks that public celebrations are disrespectful to the pain this family is feeling? If anything, I go with what our Chancellor, Angela Merkel published after the news broke: relief. Not happiness, not joy, but relief. There may be some people now who can lay back and sleep better knowing that this "enemy of the state" is no more. I personally never felt threatened or scared, and now feel no relief but mostly disgust of people's reaction. I can understand that the families of bin Landen's victims feel that justice has been served and may be able to deal a little easier with their loss, but those crowds at Time Square and the White House? Is this really necessary? Please, if you think it is, tell me, maybe I'm just too much of a liberal humanist to understand.

Thus, today, a day that may stand recorded in history I would like to ask for moderation and keeping those in your thoughts who are in pain, whether it is for the death of the man they called husband, father, or grandpa, or for the renewed pain of having lost a loved one during the attacks of 9/11.

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