I find myself watching the footage and photos of Americans celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden with mixed feelings. On one level I am celebrating with them, but on another level the partying leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Don't get me wrong--I am crying no tears for the mastermind of the carnage of 9/11, but there is something about the dancing in the streets that makes me uncomfortable.
The demonstrations outside the White House and at Ground Zero are like what would happen if we won a big football game or Olympic sporting event. They almost trivialize the nihilism and fanaticism and pure evil of the philosophy bin Laden represented. Bin Laden himself is almost irrelevent.I am pleased that his body was dumped in the ocean unceremoniously to avoid making his grave a place of pilgrimage, but it is almost uunnecessary. History had already passed him by.
The Arab Spring has made him and his movement unimportant. The Arab world is awakeninng and their anger is being channeled in more appropriate directions, against their own despotic institutions and not at imagined enemies dreamed up by misguided fanatics.. From Tunisia and Egypt to Syria, Yemen Libya, Bahrain and beyond-- the fire of freedom is burning in the bellies of the young and it is burning ever more brightly every day. In the face of the major changes in the Middle East, the death of Bin Laden at the hands of United States covert operators seems like an epitaph rather than a bell-weather.
If we Americans are going to dance in the streets in celebration, let's celebrate the rebirth that is taking place in the Middle East and not the death of a man, who, in the end, is going to be nothing but a footnote to history. Sometimes to forgive and forget is the best revenge.