Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama Bin Ladin's Dead... hmm.

This has nothing to do with art, but...
So they finally got Osama bin Laden last night. Not just "got," but killed, shot in the face, and buried unceremoniously at sea with no Muslim rites of burial. I sure don't feel sorry for him, but my first instantaneous thought was, "they didn't have to do it that way. How many people will die, be injured and be raped because we had to show off?" I mean, bin Laden was just a man. Radical Islamist militancy, though, is a movement that will keep growing and I shudder to think of how he was so thoroughly made a martyr and how this is a beginning rather than an end. Ugh.
It is true that in some cases one person's 'terrorist' is another person's 'freedom fighter,' but Bin Laden was just a monster: cult leader, bloodthirsty militant, and power-hungry opportunist. But I learned something incredibly important from him. Watching the videos he released I was floored by how gentle he seemed, so charismatic and thoughtful and spiritual. He had a very empathetic face and it was simply unearthly to look into his face and realize he wanted me dead, that he delighted in death and suffering. It was an important lesson in what evil looks like.

For instance people are always so surprised when a child molester or domestic abuser is proven guilty because, "he's such a nice guy/girl!" My mother and I both experienced blatant sexism from bosses who were well-loved and very friendly. Over the years I have unfortunately become acquainted with more than one sociopath, and while I cannot call those people themselves evil, the effect on those around them is a bitter pill to swallow if you want to believe in humanity. Bad guys don't look like they do in movies: most racists don't look like Colonel Sanders in a white hood; most sexists don't look like the rich guy from Titanic, most killers don't look like Hannibal Lector and that's the problem. They can be likeable people.

I truly hope the world will be a more peaceful place after Osama bin Laden is gone but the skeptic in me is... well, skeptical.

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