I have to admit, I am saddened for the various gleeful reactions following the announcement of the death of Osama Bin Laden. The various presentations of this person as “evil” are apparently either willfully or ignorantly unaware of the complicity of the United States government in enabling and empowering this man to have the effect he did.
Are most people really unaware that Bin Laden was bankrolled and his troops both trained and weaponized by the United States? During the 1980′s the United States supported this man explicitly as well as covertly; if there is “evil” to be credited, our government shares a lion’s portion of it as they knew who they were dealing with and chose to empower him and weaponize his efforts. Quite literally, they made him into someone capable of having far greater affect and reach than possible had he been left to his own devices.
There are even reports that his efforts were funded by the U.S. well into the mid-90′s, despite the fact that his actions were increasingly aggressive and it was already clear that (as with so many who have gone before in the region) he was no more likely to remain in the U.S. pocket than any other placed there.
Am I extremely idealistic to think that people will realize and accept that there is no such thing as a “simple” situation when talking about the machinations that occur within that part of the world??
Am I foolish to think that most people understand that every country in the region – from Lebanon eastward to Pakistan – has felt the pressure and influence of both the United Nations and the United States; and there is no more “peace” to be found than there has ever been, and no legitimate reason to think it will change?
Or to question why we seem to continue to expect it? Or to pretend that that this death is somehow more meaningful than the many that have gone before it?
Am I truly in such a minority in recognizing that these conflicts continue largely because the various countries of this world hold foremost that their desires for the region – its direction and its bounty – should take precedence over the desires of those who live there?
This continuing incursion is justified with everything from fingers pointing at history to the acrimony and demonization of these cultures as inferior, less deserving of self-determination, and “helpless” enough that it is “our obligation” to do “for the greater good” that which these countries and people “will not do” themselves.
And it is carefully maintained as the “proper way to think about it”… a gleeful dichotomy of “us versus them” seemingly unaware of the reality that the only reason that there IS a “them” is that we (“us”) insist upon making it so.
Does anyone ever take a step back and ponder, even if only for a moment, how this particular shoe would feel and fit were it upon their own foot? Does anyone think about what life would look and feel like if they were a citizen or resident of these countries?
If nothing else, one might ponder the sentiment presented as popular in those regions and amongst those people to get an idea of how it might feel. Hatred feels the same whether you find it in Arabic, English, Farsi (Persian), Hindi, Pakistani, or Pashto.
Extrapolate it into your own life — how WOULD you feel if your cities and capitals were filled with the military of other countries, telling you that your leaders are “evil” and your way of living or thinking is unacceptable, and that wanting your resources for yourself or to provide them upon your own terms is not permissible?
Can you even conceive it in a realistic way? Or does the feeling of security and the comforts of our American lifestyle make it completely impossible for you? Try. Seriously. Look around you where you are right now and TRY to imagine not being able to walk across the street for something without being accosted or asked to prove who you are (or being arrested or even shot if/when you do not).
It is not so hard to imagine how and why Bin Laden was popular or even venerated among his countrymen. It is not even impossible to imagine that he could have been as angry, vengeful, or devoted to stomping out attacks against his country as certain presidents or government officials in our country or around the world. It does not require too great a stretch of the mind to achieve a sense that their “acts of terrorism” may be, in their minds, retaliation for the many acts endured by their country and people.
The point here being that I do not have to agree with it to be able to understand how it could be seen quite differently.
This is not a matter of whether “they” are right or “we” are; patently, obviously, logically, it’s all wrong. But it is a grand example of how blame and anger and war can never, ever make peace. And it is a grand example of how and why forgetting the humanity of us all is the most grievous mistake any of us can ever, possibly make.
No, I am not gleeful to hear that Osama Bin Laden is dead. I am not happy to know that the war machine has received yet another dram of blood by which to justify and sustain itself; I am neither impressed nor convinced that continuing to send our men and women to enforce a largely corporate interest is ethical or even legal, and I am particularly saddened that it seems so many are willing to tacitly approve actions like this without as much as considering how the actions of our own “leaders” and “government” not only brought about the circumstances, but continually (and apparently with impunity) conduct themselves as if all things in the name of “our country’s interests” are, by virtue of our desire for them, justifiable.
Indeed, it is the epitome of hypocrisy, particularly given the justification used for the actions of our government.