May 1st, 2011
Last night, the world watched in shock and awe as President Obama came live for a press statement confirming that the U.S. forces had successfully tracked, attacked and killed Osama bin Laden in the suburban town of Abbottabad in Pakistan. I can say with confidence that while President Obama confirmed that ‘justice had been done’ and assured that despite a firefight ‘no Americans had been harmed and that there were no civilian casualties’ while they took custody of Osama’s body. Before Obama went live with this news, DNA typing analysis was used to confirm that it was bin Laden’s body by matching it to his deceased sister’s DNA.
As this story is still developing and with every day of the passing week, more details are being released on this operation, my thoughts on this issue are also evolving. I do have a few comments, questions and concerns in my mind about this though.
Firstly, I believe that terrorist or no terrorist, death is nothing to be celebrated of. Osama bin Laden’s death should only serve one purpose: to reassure the world that the world is one terrorist less than it was yesterday. Beyond that, someone’s death should not be a cause of celebration- that is basic human dignity.
Secondly, the U.S. government has come under criticism on the non-traditional Islamic way bin Laden was given a burial at sea. While many scholars contest that this was not the way his burial should have been handled, I personally applaud the way U.S. went about this. I cannot deny that a quick burial at sea makes this whole affair look a little ‘fishy’ but in my opinion if Osama bin Laden was the criminal he was acclaimed to be and responsible for thousands of innocents’ deaths, he was simply not a Muslim. So, it does not matter whether he was given an Islamic or un-Islamic burial. Other than the obvious geographical problems, burial at land would have meant risking backlash from the American community or giving the ‘aspiring extremists’ a symbol to look up to.
Thirdly, it amazes me on how the Pakistani intelligence was kept from this whole operation. In addition, how can the U.S. trample Pakistani sovereignty by having military choppers fly in, carry out an operation having a fire exchange, and then leave after collecting Osama’s body? The mere fact that Osama bin Laden had been hiding in Abbottabad, a suburban town and half a military garrison, without attracting attention is itself very surprising.
Finally, it is interesting to see how ten years ago when the World Trade Center collapsed, people were cheering in the other part of the world while Osama bin Laden’s death has caused celebrations in the opposite part of the world this time.