In a curious twist of coincidence, on the morning of September 11, 2001, as the Twin Towers were falling, I was on my way to the hospital to have surgery. Nearly ten years later, when the news came in that Osama bin Laden had been killed, I was on my way to the hospital with my gravely ill husband.
As we drove to the ER last Sunday night, a friend texted me, asking if I had heard the news. No, what news? Osama bin Laden was killed, she replied. Michael and I turned on the radio in the truck, where the news was confirmed.
Over the next day or so, lots of footage could be seen of a jubilant America – whooping and hollering, cheering, literally dancing in the streets. Celebrating. I was, and am, disturbed by this.
By all accounts, Osama bin Laden was an evil man who masterminded the 9/11 terrorist attacks and was responsible, directly and indirectly, for thousands of other deaths around the world, of both non-Muslims and Muslims alike. Borne out of the events on 9/11 is a terrible war that has waged now for nearly a decade, with massive loss of life of military and civilians.
It is hard to argue with the fact that bin Laden needed to be taken down. It was a necessary evil. But it seems to me that the situation calls for somber respect and reflection of all that has been lost – not celebratory dancing in the streets.