As everyone now knows, Osama Bin Laden was killed tonight in what was apparently a US led mission in Pakistan. I watched the entire media surrounding the event unfold, starting with Twitter, moving to some news agencies such as the New York Times, and finally culminating in President Obama’s speech regarding the death of Osama Bin Laden.
In truth, I found it hard to watch. While I am happy that all the families who were affected by September 11th finally have closure, I find it hard to celebrate the death of any one individual. Maybe it’s because I think most wars are pointless, like I thought this war was pointless.
The War on Terror and subsequent military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have reportedly caused over 100,000 civilian deaths. Those are people like you and me who were simply trying to live, to work, to raise children, and to fall or to be in love. It’s easy to be ideological about the reasons behind any war, but those 100,000 people no more deserved to die than any of the people in the World Trade Centre on 9/11. I’ve seen the war justified countless times by countless individuals, yet I’ve still never quite understood the reasons. For ten years soldiers have been coming home in body bags, and the television has shown carnage on the other side of the world. But what was really accomplished in those ten years?
If the war was about reducing terror, are we less afraid now?
If it was about oil, is our gas cheaper or our energy safer?
If it was about retaliation for September 11th, do we feel that justice has finally been served? If not tonight, then when? How many more need to die before the world is safe?
Gandhi once said that an eye for an eye simply makes the whole world blind. I personally find it hard to believe that Osama’s death will in any shape or form be a catalyst for peace. Peace has never been achieved using guns or bombs, but rather compassion, tolerance and understanding.
So on this night, while we remember the people who died in the towers, and in the planes, and on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, and all the soldiers who gave their lives for freedom and for justice, let us not forget the countless innocents on both sides who gave their lives to the pursuit of peace, and hope that the world will indeed be better off for their sacrifice someday.