Monday, May 2, 2011

bin laden death--My 2 cents [for now]

On  the home page of New York Times online, the first headline, of course, is BIN LADEN IS DEAD, OBAMA SAYS.  next to it is an equally large perfume ad, in which a scantily clad woman clutches a giant perfume bottle, while a lion sits next to her.

a perfect embodiment of futility.

the beat goes on.  it's hard to mourn the death of a monster. but it's hard to key in to the manic dancing-in-the-street reactions.  bin laden died in the knowledge that he had accomplished all he could, and that his work would be carried on by his own people and, more significantly, by all the offshoots he inspired but didn't lead.  what can possibly change for the rest of us, now?  he is as useful to his cause dead as alive.  more, perhaps. a living hero might influence the course of events.  a martyr can only inspire, and what he inspires is beyond his own or anyone else's control.  at most, his death might change the order of who kills who and when.  the martyr will be avenged and his successors will prove themselves carriers of the flag by killing americans and europeans,  and those muslims within their own countries who don't share their warped brand of islam.  and in turn, our government will kill more afghanistanis and pakistanis, and our homie  rightwing nutjobs will kill more muslims [and any dark-skinned americans they think may look like muslims], and thunderously burn the occasional koran.

and that sexy lady with the lion?  they too will go about their business. they are as important and dangerous an icon as bin laden.  their forces too will destroy as many of us as possible in a much shrewder and  more palatable way.  they belong to the conservatives, to the forces of 'free trade' and pseudo-democracy. they will attack our environment, impoverish many of us, starve out the children of the poor.  and no soldiers will attack them in their mansions and kill them.

so what to say for the newly dead bin laden?  i can't wish that he rest in peace: if there's an afterlife, i hope it includes a long and grisly purgatory for him, to cleanse that very evil soul.  but dance in the street and wave flags?  not me, i'm afraid. 

2 comments:

Samuel said...

Karen, that first paragraph is heroic.

Ken Goldstein said...

I'm having a bit of a "jubilation problem" myself. As long as I still have to take my shoes off to go through airport security, I'm not quite sure what all the hoopla is about.