Monday, May 2, 2011

These Phrases You Keep Using, I Do Not Think They Mean What You Think They Mean: In Which I Will Likely Alienate Half of My Acquaintances

Mother of Love and Compassion, bestow your wisdom upon me. Help me see humanity through your eyes. Help me master the love and compassion that you hold near your heart of Gold. Help me shine like a beacon in the night and see my reflection in your tear of love.Quan Yin, I thank you for your tireless love and your patience and hope for humanity.

As the entire world is likely aware by now, the U.S. claims to have killed Osama bin Laden, the boogeyman for whom the entire mess in Afghanistan, etc. was started. As soon as the news broke, people here were dancing and celebrating in the streets outside the White House, and Facebook blew up with status update after status update proclaiming the wonder of his death and the prowess of the American military. All I could do was stare at the screen in disbelief and horror, not because I am supporting terrorism or any such thing but because I was watching little pieces of humanity shrivel and die in the pixels. I'm already quite unpopular for saying similar things on Facebook and in this blog (now and in times past), and it is probably about to get worse. If you read this or any of my comments on the subject and feel that I am no longer worthy to be your friend, that's sad, but if you're reading this, you also likely already know me and know that I am not one to hold my tongue. As I have gotten older, I have also learned not to apologize for expressing myself, so no, I'm not sorry if any of this offends you.

First let me say that I do not blame the women and men who are daily being carted in and out of war zones for this "cause". For the most part, they are just people trying to work and take care of their families; their jobs simply happen to be much more dangerous and morally complicated than any of mine have been. I wish every single person who has been sent to the Middle East could come home safe and sound right now, or even better, that they had never been sent in the first place. What this also means is that I think we never should have gone at all. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you'd like, but...well, that would be an entirely different post. Suffice it to say that I find the entire endeavor ridiculous.

But this is not a post about the military or war or the government. There are plenty of political blogs out there who are doing and have done much better jobs of those topics than I could. No, this post is about the aftermath of the proclaimed death of bin Laden. I was snapped at (or as much as that is possible in normal sized type of Facebook) repeatedly for what have been variously called pacifist and anti-American views, depending on the respondent. If the death of bin Laden meant a swift and immediate end to all this crap, I might be able to understand the rejoicing; I would still not agree with it, but at least I could see the reasoning. As it is, all that's happened is one man has been killed; arguably he can be called a figure head, making it a death significant in terms of morale if nothing else. However, regardless of who this person was or what they may have done, it is no excuse for ignoring common human compassion. At some point in his life, there was a moment, or many moments, that twisted the mind of this man so that he became what he did. Instead of celebrating his destruction, the truly human thing to do would be to recognize the loss of what could potentially have been a beautiful and wonderful person. Lack of opportunity and positive, compassionate support in his life created the angry individual over whose death so many of my friends have been quick to party.

For years now, the extremely zealous "patriots" have cited the celebrations in our "enemy" countries at the 9/11 attacks as reason enough to be outraged and hate them. People claimed to be shocked and appalled at this blatant lack of respect for human life, but then lookie here, these same people are hooting and hollering in the streets at bin Laden's death. Just because he is perceived as evil does NOT make it the moral high ground to applaud his death.

When we’ve seen video footage of foreigners cheering terrorist attacks against America, we have ignored their insistence that they are celebrating merely because we have occupied their nations and killed their people. . . Indeed, an America that once carefully refrained from flaunting gruesome pictures of our victims for fear of engaging in ugly death euphoria now ogles pictures of Uday and Qusay’s corpses, rejoices over images of Saddam Hussein’s hanging and throws a party at news that bin Laden was shot in the head. This is bin Laden’s lamentable victory: He has changed America’s psyche from one that saw violence as a regrettable-if-sometimes-necessary act into one that finds orgasmic euphoria in news of bloodshed. In other words, he’s helped drag us down into his sick nihilism by making us like too many other bellicose societies in history -- the ones that aggressively cheer on killing, as long as it is the Bad Guy that is being killed. --David Sirota on

I may very well be nearly alone on this, but I will never celebrate the death of anyone. If that person happened to be less than wonderful while alive, I can only offer up prayers to the Goddess that in his/her next life he/she will have less desire to cause pain and will make the world a better place for having existed. By rejoicing in the death of anyone, despite whatever violent or evil acts they may have committed, we are simply perpetuating the evil and becoming as bad if not worse than them.

"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


S. Russell said...

I feel so sad to be labeled an "acquaintance". (-:

obsessive compulsive dawn said...

oh, shy, :-p