Monday, May 2, 2011

Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and Terrorism

Last night, May 1, 2011, it was announced that Osama Bin Laden, leader of the militant, extremist religious movement Al-Quaeda, was killed (along with two men and one woman) by a small team of U.S. soldiers during a covert mission under direct orders of President Obama. Yesterday was also the anniversary of the day that Hitler's death was announced.

Today, I am sitting at an event on the Auraria Campus for Holocaust Remembrance Day. I'm finding it to be an interesting space to contemplate the announcement that President Obama made last night.

Everyone is talking about this announcement, the death of Osama Bin Laden. Most of America is celebrating this act of violence. People are suggesting that there be a federal holiday to celebrate. There are Osama's Dead! drink specials at my local pub. This is what we call patriotism?

So call me unpatriotic, but I don't want to celebrate acts of violence. I don't want to celebrate the fact that after ten years, 1.283 trillion dollars, and hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, we killed one man. Whoo Hoo! That's the way we do it in the good old United States of America.

When Hitler was found dead, it was not his death, specifically, that we celebrated. It was the end of the war and the release of the individuals held in the concentration camps. We celebrated that the jews, gay men, lesbians, feminists, physically and mentally disabled individuals, gypsies, polish citizens, and many others were allowed to rejoin their friends and families.

The thing is, this war is far from over. Terrorism will still exist tomorrow, next week, and next year. We have not gained anything due to this blood on our hands. Tomorrow,our country will still be at war with an abstract concept.

A good friend of mine, Kristin Ziegler, posted this as her Facebook status last night:

"Osama Bin Laden was but a fraction of the whole. His ideas were the product of nationalism, religious extremism, and hatred. Ideas that our country has sold to us as "values." And until such "values" cease to exist world over, we will continue to see terrorist acts, violence, oppression, and other atrocities committed. While Bin Laden has caused great distress, celebration is certainly not an appropriate response."

A sigh of relief might be appropriate, but celebration is not.

Don't think it's over, don't get cocky, America. The war is not over, it's still pretty hazy as to what we're fighting for, or if we're the "good guys" in this situation.

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