I'm sitting here at nearly eleven at night on a Sunday evening and wondering - is all this on CNN true? Is Osama bin Laden really dead? I'm leary to believe it. I mean, how many times has this been claimed on some level before and within 48 hours there's some new tape or video or upload? So I kind of wonder if it's like that again. But what if he is?
Someone on CNN tonight (I believe it was Wolf Blitzer (seriously - every time I hear his name I think of a wolf with antlers - wolf Blitzen) said that everyone will remember where they were when they heard bin Laden was dead, that they will remember where they were on September 11, 2001, and that they'll remember where they were when they first heard the name "Osama bin Laden." Okay, right on count number one. I was in my bedroom, watching season 7 of The West Wing and folding laundry. People's Facebook statuses kept saying that everyone needed to watch the news! Major address! (Yes, I multitask - I was folding laundry, watching tv, and flipping back and forth between Facebooking and doing online jigsaw puzzles. If I were only doing one of those things I would not be able to concentrate on it. So I do four. Sometimes I do five and even talk on the phone. If I'm on the phone with you, best not to ask what else I'm doing because in order to give you my full attention I can't give you my full attention. Notice, I'm paying attention to this and going off in seventeen different direction. Anyway.....) So I came in the living room, found the remotes, turned on the television, only to discover the remote to change the channel didn't have any batteries in it. So then I had to go and find batteries. Remind me I need more AAA batteries cuz I put the last two in the remote. And then I turned on CNN, and across the bottom of the screen it said (and right now, still says): "Breaking News: Three govt officials confirm to CNN that Osama bin Laden is dead."
I have to admit that I just sat there for a few moments and it took that time for my brain to process what that truly said. What it truly means - if it is in fact true.
Now, at the moment, I have an issue with the fact that it's not the head anchors that are behind the desk. No Brian Williams, no Katie Couric, I don't even know who's on ABC anymore. I'm weird - I want the real news anchors to deliver something like this. But at 11pm on a Sunday night, who knows where they are, LOL. So I watch CNN. And listen to a wolf with antlers.
If, in fact, this is true, it's a double edged sword. Osama bin Laden was the leader of al-Qaeda in 2001 (and before) when they attacked the USS Cole in Yemen, the World Trade Center in 1998 (I think??) and the World Trade Center in 2001. He had control of al-Qaeda then, but since then, al-Qaeda has splintered and is in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, the frontier region of Pakistan (if not the whole country), and who knows where else. And he didn't and doesn't have control of them. But the chances are great that they are scheming and planning and there's going to be something. Some sort of retaliation. They ask the question on CNN of "can it (al-Qaeda) regroup? Will it regroup?" I don't think that there is anything to regroup. They've already grouped off. They've splintered. al-Qaeda in Iraq is different than al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is different than al-Qaeda in Yemen. al-Qaeda in Yemen is differen than al-Qaeda in Somalia. And it goes on and on and on (those happen to be the only places that I know al-Qaeda has splintered off to. I'm sure there are others.) It's like, well, a religion. Christianity started in one place, splintered into many and now don't look at each other to see who's doing what. Christianity in Ukraine is different than Christianity in Brasil. But the difference is, if the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox church was killed, the Christians in Brasil aren't suddenly going to go off on a terrorism spree. THAT is the difference here. The people who are part of al-Qaeda (and people is a term I use very loosely in regards to this group. People have empathy and emotions. I'm not sure what they have.) these people wouldn't hesitate to kill because someone they're no longer attached to but was once the head of the organization when it was one cell, was killed.
As President Obama speaks, it's like ten years hasn't been ten years. It doesn't feel like 9/11 has been ten years. But President Obama's speech, there are two things that stuck out to me. The first is that the death of Osama bin Laden is not the end of our effort. I pray no one thinks that this is the end. It's not. In some ways, it's the beginning. It's the beginning of stopping the hunt for bin Laden, but continuing the pursuit of the rest of the members of al-Qaeda. It's the beginning of a time when I'm sure the safety status of airports, military bases and other places will be increased for the prevention of the possible attack of those trying to avenge bin Laden's death. And unfortunately, it's the beginning of trying to figure out who's taking over for him next.
The second I clapped. I actually clapped, and I don't generally do that for a presidential speech. "bin Laden is not a Muslim leader. He is a mass murder of Muslims." THANK YOU!!! We who are Muslims have been saying this for some time. But rarely listened to. And how many people are actually going to think that maybe we're now going to be out to get them because the US killed bin Laden? But to say that in an address like that, on a night like this, I, for one, appreciate him reiterating that fact.
On CNN, Osama bin Laden was compared to Adolph Hitler. It wasn't a comparison that I'd jumped to on my own, never even occured to me. But it's true. Hilter killed more than bin Laden, yes. And he was more methodological about it. But in many ways, bin Laden brought more fear to a larger group of people. He didn't care what country he attacked. He didn't care how he attacked. And no one knew when he was going to attack. Or where he was going to attack. He put much of the western world into a state of fear. He put much of the western world into a loss of innocence to those types of fears. Our children today aren't going to grow up in the world that we grew up in. We didn't have the fears of whether or not a building was going to blow up, a plane was going to crash (well, any more than any normal person fears flying) or if on a plane, if a woman in hijab or a man wearing traditional Arab dress got on if they were going to hijack the plane. But those are things that the average, every day Westerner may worry about.
But Osama bin Laden is dead. And, as much as I am anti-death penalty, in this case? The world, I believe, is a better place, with one less evil, maniacal person spreading hatred on it.