Monday, May 2, 2011

Victimized: Osama & Revelry

On Friday evening, I attended a conference on 'Youth Radicalization Redefined' co-hosted by Google Ideas, Tribeca Film Institute & the Council on Foreign Affairs. Six former extremists were brought together to discuss how they came to be involved in these organizations, how they got out and how the youth of today (52% of the world population) could be persuaded into more positive directions. They particularly focused on bullying and those who are bullied with little opportunity often embrace a culture of victimhood.  Many of them concurred that they were seeking 'family' and to be a part of something 'bigger than themselves' because of their common sense of being attacked in some way.

NYC: May 1, 2011
 This talk now seems to almost foreshadow the end of the Osama Bin Laden era. I must admit, hearing news reports and the address by our president last night gave me a certain amount of morbid satisfaction. I do believe in the death penalty, and on the day of the attack, I wasn't more than 10 miles away.  NYC has been my lifetime home. I am also a Jew, connected to Israel, a big point of contention in the Arab world. As with many people, 9/11 hit close to home, literally and figuratively.

Clearly, his death was just. Just, because he killed so many and polluted the minds of so many more.  But 'justice served', as so many of the newspapers assert, I'm not so sure. To say that the death of one man equalizes the murders of so many others belies the value of life in general. And to celebrate, is even more scary and sobering.  Since the attacks it seems we have enshrined ourselves in victimhood. We've responded to a violent assault on our country by going into multiple wars and categorizing an entire region and belief system as 'the enemy'.

GAZA: September 11, 2001
On September 11, 2001, certain people in the Arab world rejoiced and danced in the streets. That response was based upon their own conviction and passion for their own belief system. The celebration was presupposed upon misinformation about a western world plot to destroy Islam. Yes, their revelry was based upon lies, but it was no less real, no less based upon a sense of victimhood. And now, in the streets of New York on May 2, 2011, nearly 10 years later, we do the same. Cheering at the death of a murderer. To me, it is a sad day. One where we are forced to face a very sad reality that began so many years ago. I confront another reminder of the continual blood shed over ideology. No, we did not start it. Yes, his murder was just.

It's just the revelry--- I guess I just wish it all never happened and that the cycle of violence would end, more than I wish him dead. Unfortunately, the drum keeps beating...
Supporters of hardline pro-Taliban party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Nazaryati shout anti-US slogans during a protest in Quetta, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011 after the killing of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. special forces in Abbottabad.
QUETTA: May 2, 2011