Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wounds Reopened

I was awake Sunday night into the wee hours, but this time it wasn’t just because of a stubborn high blood sugar.  That was only part of the reason.  My mind was trying to sort through how I felt about the reactions I was hearing, reading and seeing from people in response to the news that Osama bin Laden was dead.  I was troubled by some of what I witnessed.  Here’s why:

What has been accomplished by the murder of bin Laden? Are we better off? Is the world a safer place? Has a wrong been righted? Is all the pain, sorrow, anger and hatred felt by those mourning lost loved ones suddenly gone?

I think not. In fact, I fear the opposite may be true. The world is arguably a more dangerous place now. Two wrongs still don’t make a right. And all the broken hearts remain broken. Sure, the hurting masses may have experienced some satisfaction - some sense of closure upon hearing the news that bin Laden has been denied the right to live any longer in this realm of existence. I am thankful that those who mourn lost loved ones have that small comfort, at least. But at the end of the day their loved ones are still gone. No amount of bloody retribution will change that. And there has been a grossly disproportionate and, indeed, immeasurable amount of blood spilled since Sept 11, 2001 in the names of those who died that day.

After 9/11 Americans, in their heart-wrenching grief,  had a chance to learn.  To grow.  To see themselves through the eyes of people in other parts of the world.  To gain some perspective and, perhaps a little humility.  And I believe over the course of the last ten years many did just that.

And then Sunday night’s news brought back all the anger, hurt and rage. The lust for raw, primal revenge was reawakened in many. Lessons learned were forgotten. Suddenly, a kinder, gentler nation became a pep squad for murder, cheering like sports fans at the demise of a man, albeit an evil man, who likely handed down his command to another equally diabolical man or men long, long ago.

I wept along with the world on 9/11. I watched in sickened awe at footage of people in faraway lands celebrating in the streets at the news that nearly 3000 human beings were murdered on that unforgettable September morning. I wondered how they could be so calloused, so full of hatred. What wrong had they perceived had been committed against them that they would rejoice in the face of so much death and suffering?

After witnessing an unsettlingly similar reaction to Sunday night’s news, I have my answer.

This isn’t over. Pandora’s box, along with old wounds, have been opened once more. Sadly, I fear that is exactly what the war machine wants.

The following is a link to a video of two grieving mothers. They have much to teach us of tolerance and forgiveness.  9/11 healing: The mothers who found forgiveness, friendship | Video on TED.com


Jen said...

perfectly said.

Denise said...

well said. my thoughts exactly.

fiberenabler said...

Thank you for putting words to the feelings I've been rattling around with. Well said, with much grace.

Anonymous said...

perfectly written.