Tags: bin laden

hedgehog

DING DONG THE SHEIK IS DEAD (go ahead and celebrate, it's okay)

I got the news the way I get almost any important, shocking news these days:  via text message, while teaching a class.  I glanced at the screen and these three words were seared into my eyes: BIN LADEN DEAD!!!

I stopped my class and quickly relayed the message to my adult students, who were as gobsmacked as me.  When I ran to the teachers' room and saw that the internet indeed confirmed the news, a feeling of joy swelled in my gut, enveloping my whole body in warmth and electricity.  I strolled back into the classroom and stood before the handful of older students seated in front of me, grinning so hard that I could almost hear my skin strain.

"It looks like it's true..."

Osama Bin Laden was dead and guess what?  I was fucking happy.  I was more than happy - I was elated - and I felt like celebrating.  And I wasn't the only one.

When the news reached the ears of Americans, many congregated in front of the White House, in Times Square, and at the Ground Zero sight itself to party.  Public Enemy Number 1 was dead  - shot through the head according to the news reports - and this unleashed a wave of revelry.  They waved flags, chanted and jumped and drank and generally whooped it up.  They were celebrating a death, the death of a fellow human being.  Our sworn enemy was felled, and this was a joyous occasion.

Of course not everyone sees it this way.  On facebook some of my friends came out and admitted that they were shamed by the scenes of  happiness, that the death of person is NEVER an occasion for celebration.  Today had seen a quote attibruted to MLK floating around speaking to this idea, how darkness can never be met with darkness, that we must always love...

Fair enough.  I respect the high-minded sentiment, but I say fuck it:  BE HAPPY if you feel it.  I certainly do.  Mr. Bin Laden is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people.  With the exception of the attack on the Pentagon, the operation on 9/11/2001 didn't even pretend to go after military targets.   The point was to kill as many civilians as possible, and it was a big success.  And let us not forget the thousands butchered by the hands of Al Qaeda bombers in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein (we can talk about our own sins separately).  He was a religious zealot who advocated total holy war against the West.  His values were anethema to what most of us hold dear.  He perverted a whole religion and relished in indiscriminate bloodshed.  He was an evil man and the world is far better off without him.  I see nothing wrong with celebrating this fact.  Maybe I'm insensitive, inhumane, or just a mean son of a bitch, but this simpy liberal notion that rejoicing in this asshole's death is somehow inappropriate just rubs me the wrong way.  To paraphrase a character from The Wire: "Some muthafuckas just need to get got."

Should Hitler's death have been observed with grimness and solemnity?  Should the champagne have remained corked after the surrender of the Japan in WWII?  Hell no.  People partied their asses off, and rightly so.  And while Bin Laden's death does not mark the end of a war, it does mark the end of an era and a major victory.

So put on yer dancin' shoes and let the liquor flow.