Osama Bin Laden is dead.
When news spread Sunday night about Bin Laden’s death, video started circulating which showed Americans celebrating his death. In D.C., Americans gathered in front of the White House. In New York, Americans took to the streets in jubilee. Survivors and families of 9/11 victims cried. Chants were shouted in patriotic unison. The national anthem was sung. But more than pride, there was an overwhelming sense of relief.
This is the reason why Bin Laden’s death should be celebrated. It’s a relief. There are those who feel uneasy about the excessive celebrating. There are those who may feel the celebrating was hypocritical for those who consider themselves Christian or religious in any way. The fact of the matter is that Bin Laden declared war on the United States of America. He declared war on western civilization. He declared war on any sympathizers of America, including other coutries that were predominantly Muslim. He took credit for the U.S. Embassy bombings of 1998. He took credit for the 9/11 attacks. He killed thousands of people, including many Muslims. He was a murderer.
The death of Bin Laden is bigger than Bin Laden himself. The death of Bin Laden is not the death of terrorism itself. The death of Bin Laden in itself is the death of an ideal. It is the death of a symbol. In a sense, it was closure. And the act of celebrating is a projected demonstration of the sense of closure that Americans have been seeking for ten years.
Sometimes, when you read a book, you may re-read it many times over. Sometimes you get stuck on a particular chapter. You may find yourself losing sleep, eyes heavy, from searching for meaning. Sometimes you just want to finish the chapter so that you can rest… knowing that you’ll pick the book back up the next day to start a new chapter and search for new meanings.
We know this isn’t the end of the book, but it is the end of a chapter. We can rest… for now.