While I cannot ever celebrate the death of someone, I certainly do not judge anyone who does. I began to ask myself many questions? What was in like growing up in Afghanistan? Was it in his nature or was it a lack of nuturing which led him down the path which ultimately led to his death? Did his mother hold him? Did his father abuse or neglect him? Was it a lack of education, resources, and/or poverty which led him to have a hatred toward anyone and everyone not believing in his particular brand of Islam? With all of these thoughts bouncing around my head, I took to the internet to find some sort solace or understanding. What was discovered surprised me.
First, I learned he was born in Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan to a wealthy businessman and led a life of privelage. He is reported to be one of fifty eight children. While this certainly may mess with you, it by no means is reason for his to have chosen the path to become the leader and founder of a militant Islamic group responsible for the death of others. This was another part of my education which was lacking. I had no idea he was the founder of Al Qaeda. How this escaped me I am unsure, and I am almost embarrassed to admit it. Maybe I need to rethink this idea of no television.
Bin Laden was an educated man with a degree in engineering. How does a man who was privileged, educated, and reported to be soft spoken and unassuming become the leader of a terrorist group? I have come away with no answers, only a sense of relief that he cannot carry out any more acts of violence nor demand them of others. I cannot help but wonder if in making him a Martyr if we have not spawned a new generation of hatred. Bin Laden is said to have had at least twenty four children. Are they going to carry on his brand of hatred or will they overcome it? Yes, I will pray by some miracle their lives leave a legacy of peace unlike their fathers.
All of this pondering and research has not led me to many answers but has opened my eyes to my own biases and misunderstandings. While I still do not celebrate his death, I feel more at peace with it. This searching has brought me to a place of quiet reflection and prayer. It shows me there are events in life where the only action I can take is in learning to live a peaceful life myself. My heart goes out to everyone directly effected by this man's actions; may a sense of closure be found. His death cannot bring loved ones back, nor pay for the sacrifice of our service men and women and their families, but maybe it can bring sense of relief and the knowledge this one man can no longer raise his hand in the ordering of the death of thousands of others. I pray for the parents and caregivers of the world that we nurture and raise children to love. I dream of a world where children do not know war and the poverty of hatred. While this may not ever be likely, it is nice thought.