Its only 10:30 in the morning and already Ive received so many emails/text messages about the killing of Bin Laden. Theres a large TV here at work and its all over the news and its all anyone is talking about.
For most of us who experienced 9/11 firsthand, this news is pretty significant. To a lot of people, he represents a scary time when we thought we would never see our loved ones again. It also represents a time when we were confronted with our own mortality. As my best friend emailed me this morning, its “bizarre” to think that we actually lived thru those events. It often seems like some distant nitemare that never really happened. But once in a while, a comment, or an image, or a sound will bring it all back…for instance, whenever I hear the words “what a beautiful day”, I am reminded that THAT day was a beautiful day too. It was a bright, cool, fall day, the kind of day when you feel lite and happy and optimistic, like nothing can go wrong…beautiful days were “safe” and “good” before THAT day. Now, although I can still appreciate beautiful days, I am more conscious of the fact that bad things can happen on beautiful days too.
Another thing that sticks out clearly in my mind about that experience, even after all of these years, is what I refer to as the “role reversals” that I witnessed. People that up to that point had had a certain position of status or authority in my life, were all of a sudden stripped of that position and transformed before my eyes into terrified little children. It was so strange to me (and horrifying, to be honest) to see and hear my bosses, landlords, teachers etc crying and scared and hugging each other in fright. It was so incredibly weird. And for some strange reason that I cannot understand or explain, that was not my reaction to it at all. Maybe it was shock… I was incredibly calm and focused and just went into automatic “ok, what should do?” mode. I remember having to call the mother of one of the children that my sister and I babysat for (since she lived in that area) to try and get in touch with her….I was so matter of fact but SHE was in complete breakdown…i was instantly thrown into the “adult” role while she wept like a child. I was irritated and frustrated because I needed to find out if my sister was ok but she was in such a state that she couldnt think rationally or answer my questions. Afterwards, my sister shared that she also witnessed that “role reversal”- men on Wall street in their suits who usually seem to walk with such an air of confidence and authority dropping to their knees and bawling as they saw their colleagues and friends jumping out of office windows.
And now, ten years later, the man who allegedly was the cause of all of this, has been killed. And a lot of people are really happy about that. They feel that justice has been done. They feel vindicated and safer now that they “got the bad guy”. And I honestly dont know if I feel the same. Safer? No way! He was clearly not a “one-man” band and there are surely accomplices still alive that will try to continue where he left off. And I dont know that I could ever be happy or celebrate someones killing, no matter how huge their crimes are.
Maybe I would feel differently if my sister had not made it out…maybe…I’m not sure…but i do know that his death doesnt bring all of those that were killed back to life. And his death doesnt meant that we are any closer to peace with middle east than we were before. Im just not so sure that we have much to be celebrating right now…
what think ye, fine people? 🙂