Thursday, August 18th | 21 Av 5782

May 25, 2011 11:23 am

Reveling in Bin Laden’s Death Part 2

avatar by Chava Tombosky

Celebrations opposite the White House following the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Photo:

Obviously this has been a very hot topic and many people have been weighing in their opinions on the matter. I’ve had a lot of different comments posted, some very insightful, others clouded by emotion, and some just plain scary postal. One of my dear friends who is a proponent and speaker for NVC, a form of enlightened communication also known as “non violent communication” weighed in her thoughts and I just had to post them here on my blog. Brenda Harari PHD is a natural born educator, speaker, and writer. She is very outspoken and has spent much of her life dedicated to being a proponent for individualized teaching.  I really appreciate her point of view and often go to her for advice as she is one of the most level headed people I know and respect. She also gets the best pedicures and has great looking toes. Here’s what Brenda had to say:

“Yes, so many people are asking these same questions.  I’ve had very strong feelings and a great deal of sadness around this issue, that I haven’t yet verbalized or processed.  So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to do it here, and having you as an audience helps. (little did she know she’d have a wider audience than just me)

So, when I saw the jubilation and celebration that night, I felt sick to my stomach.  I felt like we were back in the dark ages, stoning the accused and deriving sick voyeuristic pleasure from the same horrendous violence that we condemned. I don’t know if I could put my finger on precisely what it is that makes me feel so sick about it, but there are (at least) 2 issues, and I’m not sure how these relate to torah, but I’m sure you can tell me….

First, the bottom line is, like it or not, we are all connected in humanity.  Some of us choose in life to represent evil and some of us choose a higher path, but Bin Laden, like so many others before him and behind him, represents painful, pitiful elements of humanity our humanity.  Who the hell are we to derive pleasure from extracting justice?  Are we G-d??  Are any of us devoid of blame, to the extent that we should be dispensing and reveling in serving justice????  Puh-lease!!!  I for one, am not.

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Am I glad he’s dead? YES! Unequivocally. And given the chance, I would have been more than willing to pull the trigger, but to revel and celebrate it?  It seems ludicrous to me.  Misguided and shameful. What we should be doing, is mourning the cycle of violence, death, and destruction and honoring the people who died at his hands – not by celebrating his death, but by taking a real and authentic stand against evil- and wrong-doing to create some shred of meaning out of the senseless deaths of so many.  But it did not look to me like those people clamoring in the streets were “standing up against evil”, they were, it seemed to me, joining in a mass-mentality of mindless revelry, that didn’t at all reflect the somber reality of the thing they were “celebrating”.  Real action against evil takes place first inside of each of our hearts. It’s a quiet reflective practice – a moment of silence would have been much more appropriate than clamoring in the streets, if you ask me.  From that reflection, emerges action.  As I understand it, action takes place first in our hearts, then in our minds, and it grows from there – to the ways we educate our children, the ways we live our daily lives, and the contribution we make to the world.  Action is something we each choose every day, throughout the day, in the small choices we make – how we respond to an angry driver, how we respond to a despondent teenager, or to an obnoxious boss.  What we witnessed after the death of Bin Laden wasn’t action it was reaction, a misguided attempt to draw meaning out of something that was basically meaningless.  Whether Bin Laden died 10 days ago or lived actually has very little to do with the future potential for world peace. What does create the possibility for peace lies in each of our hearts.   I was so saddened when I saw the reaction that I did, as it was evidence to me (and I suppose to G-d, right?)  that we are just as enslaved now as we were in Egypt.  The cycle of misguided violence continues.

Only when we take action – in our own hearts and in our own minds and in our own lives – will any of us have a chance at what I believe you call redemption and Moshiach.  Don’t you think???”

Oh I think alright, couldn’t have said it better myself.

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