May 3, 2011

Osama Bin Laden, the murderer of September 11, 2001 and of many other days was found and killed yesterday by some incredibly brave members of our armed forces and intelligence community.  I heard about it early yesterday morning and really didn’t feel much of anything.  Our government had been searching for him for these ten years and his capture and death didn’t feel very much like a conquest to me.  It was a very mild relief that the search was over and now, finally, we might get back to more peaceful days.

An hour or so later I heard that there was great jubilation and cheering in the streets that he was dead.  People were waving flags and cheering USA, USA, over the fact that our government had killed this perpetrator of the worst evil ever to befall our country.  I was surprised at that reaction but probably shouldn’t have been.  We are a warlike people and life to many of us takes on the dimensions of a zero sum game.

I have committed violent acts for which I am sorry and I hope never to repeat them.  I am grateful for the lives of Mohandas Gandhi, Jesus and Martin Luther King who all practiced non-violence and did so with bravery in their hearts.  They were strong men all and they knew that the result of violence has always been greater violence.

The words and acts of Gandhi have been a wellspring for me for a long time.  He said that “victory attained through violence is tantamount to defeat, for it is momentary” and that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.  It seems to me that we are becoming blind to the history of the world which has proved over and over that violence begets violence…..every time.

I am neither sad nor happy that Bin Laden is dead.  I am sad that we never learn but remain aware that I am capable of that which I know to be counter to the peace I long for.  I am hopeful that that awareness will continue to keep me on a path to peace. 

Posted May 3, 2011

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