I was reading an article from Reuters today which made me both a little angry and a little sad. Here are a couple quick blurbs from the piece:
A statement purporting to come from a son of Osama bin Laden denounced the al Qaeda leader’s killing as “criminal” and said his burial at sea had humiliated the family, an online monitoring service said.
The statement, attributed to Omar bin Laden, bin Laden’s fourth eldest son, said the al Qaeda chief’s children reserved the right to take legal action in the United States and internationally to “determine the true fate of our vanished father,” the SITE Intelligence Group said.
The letter said, in part: “We hold the American President (Barack) Obama legally responsible to clarify the fate of our father, Osama bin Laden, for it is unacceptable, humanely and religiously, to dispose of a person with such importance and status among his people, by throwing his body into the sea in that way, which demeans and humiliates his family and his supporters and which challenges religious provisions and feelings of hundreds of millions of Muslims.”
Now, I would certainly be upset about the loss of my father if I were Omar bin Laden. But to point fingers and call his killing “criminal”? This is just supremely ironic to me.
No, I’m not willing to celebrate the death of a fellow human being, and yes, I feel for his family, but to say that disposing of a person who is important to others as being humanely and religiously unacceptable seems a bit (actually, a lot) like the pot calling the kettle black.
Initially, I was surprised by the statements made by the bin Laden son. After all, has he forgotten about the countless number of people his father was responsible for disposing of in a “humanely and religiously unacceptable” fashion?
But, as always, I had to zoom the camera lens out a bit. Omar bin Laden is not his father (I hope). He has just lost the man who gave him life, even if the same man took the lives of thousands of others.
Are the sons of monsters also monsters? This man, who worships the same God as Christians, Jews and Muslims in America is mourning. He is angry. Upset. Betrayed. Conflicted.
As indicated in his book, Growing up Bin Laden, he had an unhappy childhood; was beaten regularly, had pets killed in chemical experiments by his father’s fighters, and was exposed to dangerous situations in training camps and the Afghan civil war.
Sounds pretty awful to me. I don’t envy anybody involved in the family and the fallout from Osama’s death.
Think not forever of yourselves, O Chiefs, nor of your own generation. Think of continuing generations of our families, think of our grandchildren and of those yet unborn, whose faces are coming from beneath the ground.
– T. S. Eliot
Stay safe, and be good to each other.