Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ding dong, the witch is dead?

It feels like two or more historically significant moments always go hand-in-hand. Over Friday and Saturday, Twitter was buzzing with enthusiasm about the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton -- and then yesterday there was just as much hype over the death of Osama bin Laden. Honestly, I don't need to watch the news anymore to get headlines; Twitter is usually the first to let me in on anything. (I'm not sure whether that's a good or bad thing, but that's beside the point anyway.)

What stood out to me most about the responses popping up in the whole conglomerate of social media was the immediacy of the joking, the rejoicing, and the mocking enthusiasm -- not for the royal wedding, but for the death of Bin Laden. Interestingly, even those too-cool-for-school bloggers and tweeters who groaned and rolled their eyes at the wedding frenzy were willing to jump in and remark gleefully on the Bin Laden story. It feels a little skewed when it's considered more intellectually appropriate to rejoice in someone's death than to celebrate someone else's marriage. Already, jokes are running hot.

I'm super glad I'm not in any position of power or responsibility to have to make the kind of calls that result in execution (or in sending others to death and danger). It follows, then, that I don't have any conclusions about whether or not Osama bin Laden's death was the right course of action. I really have no idea; I will gladly leave that to the authorities, and I have immense respect for the military personnel who follow orders and sometimes have to do hard things to pursue peace. They have to make black and white decisions in entirely grey areas.

But we, who are in no position to make those decisions, can still decide how we respond to them. Relief is one thing, but rejoicing is quite another -- especially if we choose to identify ourselves as Christians or (in the case of the US) as a Christian nation. If that's the case, then we need to think and respond Christianly to world events.

A friend posted these Scriptures on Tumblr:

For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live (Ezekiel 18:32). Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles (Proverbs 24:17).

I think those quotes say it all. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

(Okay, back to your regularly scheduled internetting. I actually shrink from chiming in on issues like this, but I've resolved to live an examined life through this blog, and this is all part of... examining life!)

* * * * *


Un -- it was so yum :) Nice code-name, by the way.

Cara -- tiger bread is a white loaf with a crackly, stripy brown crust. So good.

Katie -- it really was.

Asea -- yeah, come for breakfast this weekend! :)

Laura Elizabeth -- YUM. Bananas are definitely good on french toast. Okay, I'll let you in on my ultimate french toast secret which I only have incredibly rarely because it's so extreme -- a nutella sandwich french-toasted with banana and maple syrup on top. MMMMMM.

Lauren -- I thought it looked like potato, too. That would be pretty yum in itself :).


  1. But we, who are in no position to make those decisions, can still decide how we respond to them. Relief is one thing, but rejoicing is quite another -- especially if we choose to identify ourselves as Christians or (in the case of the US) as a Christian nation. If that's the case, then we need to think and respond Christianly to world events.

    Very well said. Good thoughts, Danielle. I guess the bottom line for me is that while I don't expect people to have a superhuman response to the death of a mass murderer I also find the subhuman response; that animal, barbaric glee in the downfall of someone pretty depressing. And also...argh! Nothing has changed. Terrorism didn't suddenly end yesterday, you know? So I'm just all sorts of confused with some of the responses.

  2. Good thoughts. I agree. Even those with good reason to be happy about his death, vengeful attitudes are not Godly, or how the Lord wishes us to respond.

  3. Like! (In Facebook lingo.) I agree with you.

  4. My favorite response to this so far comes from one of my professors:

    "he's dead. now all the radical muslims of the world will take down their "The USA is the Great Satan" posters, turn in their guns, go to college, and buy a nice ranch in the suburbs. we're saved."

    Helps keep things in perspective, even for those who are happy he's gone.

    A few of my friends and such are being gleeful, but most of them are showing a good amount of restraint, being glad lives may be saved by this, but not happy it needed a death to accomplish it.

    Living overseas has definitely taught me to be much more wary of rejoicing over others' failure/death/defeat.

  5. YES! Yes, yes yes! I like it Danielle :D

  6. As I was driving home this afternoon, I happened to hear the start of Obama's speech where he was explaining how he had directed the CIA to "kill or capture" Bin Laden and it just left me speechless. I know that Al Qaeda has done terrible things, but the idea that a supposedly civilised country or person could order someone to be killed seems completely horrible. How do they claim to be moral when they subscribe to an eye for an eye mentality? I don't know how to answer those questions.

    Vengeance never solved any problems ever. I'm glad there are people around with voices of reason and calmness in the midst of the hype.

  7. This was a really well-thought out post and I thought that you conveyed your thoughts nicely. (I used the word 'thought' in that last sentence way too many times and ways *and* I also used the word 'nicely'. Eugh, I hate everything about that sentence but it is all true!!

    I really had to comment on this post purely for the comment you left me. Um, nutella french toast??? Yes PLEASE!! I hope I can sweet talk my friend into making some for me because that sounds truly divine!!

  8. Really good thoughts here D. I think the professor's thinking is true also. And am wondering if Obama is getting any sleep. He must feel even more of a target. I would not like to be in his shoes.
    Osama did say he wouldn't be taken alive, so arrest probably wasn't an option.

  9. I wouldn't want to be in a position of authority either...

    I found out about Osama via the radio (having no tv nor internet for 3 days!)

    I honestly don't feel as though we are now "victorious" just because he is dead. Nothing really has changed for us just because of the fact...

    And should we really gloat? I don't think so.

  10. Also, did you watch the wedding? I loved how "sacred" the wedding was. It really is a blessing to see marriage taken as a holy union; the way God intended! I love church weddings.

  11. I have to say, I more confused by all of the jubilant rejoicing than anything else. I understand the victorious military aspect of Bin Laden's death but otherwise...it doesn't seem personal enough for me to feel like a vendetta had been avenged. The whole situation was always more of a political endeavour, and unworthy of such callousness. Maybe I'm being too detached from the plight of those that suffered first-hand throughout 9/11, but I was completely shocked to hear that OBL's body was thrown into the ocean, rather than create an opportunity for his followers to create a shrine around a gravesite.

  12. Staish, I heard a news item that told of his being buried at sea "as is Muslim custom" (?).

  13. I'm still trying to process all of this in my head. As a few of my friends have said, the hornets nest has been kicked. We really haven't seen the last of this situation. Staish, the sea burial while it might sound strange and a little cruel to us now isn't so strange if we cast our minds back to the great sea battles of history. Many a body went down into the deep because there was no way of transporting a body home. I realise in this case it could have been, but it seems no matter which side you take, the arguement is circular and will never end. Danielle, great post. You sum up what I've been trying to think about.


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