Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The following email I received helped me understand my mixed feelings over the death of Osama. I have feelings of sadness and relief. Killing another human being does not seem to be the right thing to do to bring justice. However, knowing that he no longer exists really means
that there may be a new beginning, hopefully, for the better. This article was an examination of
conscience for me. What do you think? Rosemary Doyle, Citizens for Peace

Dear Mr. Bin Laden,
Just so you know. I won?t be having cocktails at the White House or
marching in the streets to celebrate your passing. When I heard you
were gone, I only felt sadness. It is not a sadness that comes from
any sort of love or solidarity or even pity. Do not misunderstand me.
It is a deep sadness that comes when we glorify and justify violence
as a means to destroy what we deem evil. It is something you were
especially good at.
So why am I sad? I have sadness that your hatred has poisoned and
murdered so many; sadness that fear and revenge is called justice;
sadness that we Americans have justified tens of thousands of deaths
in Afghanistan, nearly 1 million in the Iraq war, and many other
targeted killings in Pakistan that weren?t you. I imagine we will see
your death as a ?successful campaign? with no American lives lost. The
irony will escape us. I wonder if it does you.
We talk about ?the enemy? and ?evil? when we speak of you. Since that
bitter September day in 2001, we have used the word evil as if a human
can be evil to their core. You join the ranks of evil-doers like
Hitler and Mussolini. My guess is that in some way, you have enjoyed
that, although you knew we were wrong. You embraced that sort of
extreme ideology that labeled Americans and others who disagreed with
you as evil. For you, and for us, the way we try to remove evil is to
hunt it down and kill it, saying ?praise god? all the way down. We?re
not so very different, you and we Americans.
?We think evil acts (and people) should be taken care of through war
and violence
?We call upon God to justify our violence
?We use our financial resources to support wars that agree with us
across the world
?We recruit our children to be our front line warriors while we give
orders from board room
Mr. Bin Laden, I think that what you stood for and how you worked was
evil, but I never thought you were. Even you were not outside the
possibility of grace and change. I think of you as wounded and broken,
mislead, oppressed and wrong, but not evil.
I suppose that makes me an extremist also. But, if I am going to be an
extremist, it will be to say that no human being is evil, not even
you. You will be accountable for your actions and although I do not
fancy standing beside you ?when the roll is called up yonder,? I do
not hold those things in my hands. And I believe that love survives
and that grace can change and heal us AND those we offend ? and that
it is not my job to decide what happens to you.
I won?t be the life of anyone?s death party.
So now, partly because I know your body will not receive any burial
prayer, I offer a prayer for your death. And it is to our mutual
God of love, Creator of all good and precious human beings. We offer
to you our brother, Osama Bin Laden. He came into this world just like
we did, born into imperfection and a broken and unjust world, human
with potential for so much good. He made choices that took him on a
horrible path. He hurt so many of your beautiful children. We know he
is accountable to his actions and attitudes. Will you help those
innocent ones whose lives he has destroyed to forgive him so that they
can move forward into love? Will you open up the eyes of those who
have loved and admired him to the possibility of grace and kindness
toward even those they fear? Will you please take all of our feelings
and after we have had a season to acknowledge them, create something
hopeful out of them? Please break through the bitterness of fear and
revenge and bring healing. We want to give him into your hands, though
we do not know if our hearts will let us. We trust that your broken
heart can somehow heal us and even him. A-men.