I was at an event on Monday at which a speaker commended to our thoughts the soul of Osama Bin Laden. It was startling at first, but then comforting, in that it extended the continuum of response to the killing of the Al Qaeda leader in a direction it needed to go.
I was among those uncomfortable with the celebration of a violent death, no matter whose. If Al Qaeda’s central data base had been irretrievably destroyed, if they had been permanently denied all their cell phone connections and Internet access, if somehow an absolute embargo on explosive materials could be enforced against them-- in other words, if the tools of their terror had been taken away, I would have been celebrating. Or, if by some miracle the terrorists had seen the light and embraced nonviolent activism, I would have been cheering. But I can’t cheer two shots to the forehead.
Of course, I didn’t have a loved one taken from me on September 11. And I haven’t yet been able to satisfactorily map in my own heart the moral territory that divides justice from retribution. I just know I would feel more enriched, satisfied, humanized, strengthened by a nonviolent end to a violent era, a nonviolent end to violence.