Monday, May 2, 2011

Mourning Osama

The internet has been overwhelmed with a flood of opinions about the death of Osama bin Laden. People are arguing whether or not our SEALS killed him last week, spewing hatred for bin Laden and all the evils he committed (which indeed, are many) and rejoicing at his death.

I learned about bin Laden's demise on Facebook last night and immediately told my husband. I was relieved at the news, but ever since then, I've been avoiding thinking about the subject. My feelings didn't mirror those opinions I found everywhere, and since that bothered me, I put it all out of my mind--until this quote from Martin Luther King Jr. surfaced on a friend's Facebook page:

"I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even 
an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
— Martin Luther King Jr

(Edit: I have since learned that the first sentence of this quote cannot be attributed to Dr. King, but the rest is from his book Strength to Love. For some equally [or greater] quotes about enemies by Dr. King, please visit this blog post: Fake MLK Quotes, Real MLK SentimentI am not familiar with the other content on the blog, FYI.)

It was then that I realized what it was I felt about this particular death--


Not sorrow because Osama bin Laden was killed, for I believe that justice was served. I feel a deep sadness for the man he could have been, for the waste of a precious human life. I mourn for the thousands of lives he affected, for the people whose potential he threw away like garbage.

I look at my children, so innocent, with their whole lives ahead of them. Just this morning I snuggled Bean close, overwhelmed with love and hope for my little son, aching at the challenges growing up will present him. 

Every person was once a baby. Every murder, rapist, and thief was once an innocent, trusting toddler. So while I mourn the necessity of the loss of a human life, that is not the greatest thing I mourn.

I mourn the baby that Osama bin Laden once was. I shed tears for the trusting, innocent child who grew up into a horribly twisted adult. I have no idea what circumstances led to the terrible, depraved life he chose, but even more than I grieve for the child who was--I grieve for the man who wasn't.


kbrebes said...

Well said, Rebecca. Thanks for the important reminder!

A Place For Every-Thing said...

I also have the same feelings. I am glad we all can have closure but I think his death is sad as one human to another. He was a bad man in my opinion and justice needed to be served. But Cheering in the streets because of Death is not something I will be doing, regardless of who he was.

C. K. Bryant said...

Wow! Well, said, my friend. I've had similar feelings today and you nailed it on the head. I agree that he was a horrible person and his death was necessary, but my hope is that we don't stoop to his level in celebrating his death.

Kimberly said...

This brought me to tears. You wrote that so beautifully.

Heffalump said...

I agree. I was a bit surprised at people's reactions. Yes, he needed to die, but the joyous celebration of any loss of life bothered me.

L.T. Elliot said...

Well said, Rebecca. I feel exactly the same way. I grieve for the man-who-wasn't with many people. I hope I never have to for myself and that I never have to for my kids. Thank heavens for the atonement.

Kazzy said...

Good thinking and good writing. I like you. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Well said. The thing that kept going through my mind was the image of the Bin Laden supports/America haters who were cheerings as the towers came down. I don't want to be painted with their brush.