||Posted: May 03 2011,05:53
CPNN has received the following comment from Jacob Bauer:
Death of Osama bin Laden – Not a Victory, but Failure
May 13th, 1981, the leader of the largest Christian group, Pope John Paul II was shot four times by a trained sniper. Soon after, the Pope forgave and asked people to pray for his attempted murderer instead of condemning him. Who can forget the image of the man sitting in a prison cell, holding the hands of his would be assassin, calmly speaking of compassion and forgiveness. This is the same man who said, “Violence is evil. Violence is unacceptable as a solution to problems. Violence is unworthy of man. Violence is a lie, for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of our humanity.” At the time of the Pope’s death decades later, his attempted murderer mourned along with the world.
October 2nd, 2006, a lone gunmen enters an Amish schoolhouse and shoots ten young girls whose ages were from 6 to 13 years old. Five of them were killed. He then turned the gun on himself and took his own life. The community, instead of seeking revenge and outrage, sought forgiveness and compassion. They held a collection and sent money to the family of the perpetrator, for they had lost a son as well. Fathers who lost their innocent daughters urged people not to hate the murder, not to hate the person, but the action. "We must not think evil of this man." "He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he's standing before a just God."
May 1st, 2011, the world learns of the death of Osama bin Laden, and celebrates it as victory. This however is not a time of jubilation, but a time of reflection. The killing of bin Laden, a mass murderer indeed, is not symbol of victory, but failure. It is a grand symbol of our failure as a nation and as a world to live up to our proclaimed values of forgiveness, compassion, and universal human dignity. The death of bin Laden is a mark of our missed opportunity for greatness; to surpass barbarism, and to surpass the life of contradiction of responding to death with death, by the God-given miracle of forgiveness.
What are we supposed to do, leave such heinous acts unpunished? Above all, we should not respond to heinous acts with heinous acts of our own. The epitome of human existence is responding to hatred with love, to do otherwise is a failure, not a victory. Our responsibility is to realize the human dignity of all, even those who error greatly.
What about our own actions? We have responded to a horrible act with the condemnation of two countries to war, turmoil, and destruction for nearly a decade. Our President mentioned rightly last night when informing us of the news of our failure (victory to him), "And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.” He referred to the thousands killed in the terrible attack on 9-11-2001. He has failed to mention what should also burden our hearts, the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and some say, millions that have been killed through our warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan. They too have value and worth that we should recognize and take responsibility for. They too have families who miss them at a dinner table, if they are lucky enough that that has not been take from them as well. Though they are not of our ‘nation’ they are our bothers, sisters and children among our one human family. These human lives taken by our hand should too leave “a gaping hole in our hearts.”
Our president also proclaimed, again rightly so, “But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to.” But what should we put our minds to? Revenge, war, violence, death? In response to horrible deeds nearly ten years ago, how much better would the world be if we instead responded in values of life, compassion, forgiveness, education, love? It is when we change our goals and values from death to life that we should celebrate, for that is a true victory. Not when a person is killed, no matter the person’s deeds.
It is terrible that we are celebrating a killing in such a way, no matter who it is. It's moments like these that the world has gone blind from 'an eye for an eye,' proving true Gandhi’s prophetic statement. As a friend of mine has said in response to the events: “There's nothing to celebrate until the wars are brought to an end.” For let there be no mistake, war is nothing but terrorism on a grander scale. War is nothing but grand acts of terrorism by a state instead of by a small group. Each side beats, murders, and commits acts of mass destruction upon the other in the attempt for the terror to be too great for one side to handle. This is what war is, this is what terrorism is. A true war against terrorism is an ideological war, one that should be fought through education, love, and compassion. A true victory over terrorism is overcoming our own urge toward violence as well, by accepting violence in all its forms for what it is, including war and including the killing of people who have done terrible things, for what they are, “Violence is evil. Violence is unacceptable as a solution to problems. Violence is unworthy of man. Violence is a lie, for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of our humanity.”