Whilst I would not call myself a lily-livered liberal there is still something mildly distasteful about celebrating the death of an individual, particularly in cultures which do not support the use of the death penalty, like our own in the UK. This might be seen to be also hypocritical given that we seem to be constantly at war with one regime or another, and also given our thinly veiled objective of trying to “de-capitate” Libya – all of which reinforces the general acceptance that killing people can be justified. However ask someone to vote on it, and they will vote against.
The news this morning about the death of Bin Laden showed a spontaneous street celebration in New York’s Time Square ( must have been at least 50 people!) giving “high fives”, chanting “USA, USA” and even “passing round beer” – whatever next? As day breaks then perhaps more will flood into the Square to celebrate….well, celebrate what, exactly? The end of an era? The end of terrorism? The perpetrator of 9/11? The rather worrying thing is that this not the end of anything – this could be the start of something a lot worse. Some of the world’s great religions started on the back of their charismatic leader being executed. Have the Americans not heard of martyrdom – why do they think there are suicide bombings?
The picture of the dead Bin Laden, could be anyone, and unless there is irrefutable proof that it is him, this could continue as a “conspiracy theory” for years. It is reported that Bin Laden was given the option to surrender…before they shot him, as well as supposedly filming him. This will be on the internet before the year is out – in much the same way as the hanging of Saddam. Whilst it might be gruesome, it is the only way to quash unnecessary rumours.
It is not surprising that America is now on alert. As the “celebrations” die down this heightened level of anxiety will pervade the Western world and re-establish group-paranoia.
Mr Obama ordered the “rolling of the dice” over the last few days, and “rolled a 6” – time will tell whether that’s “good luck” or “bad luck”!