May 2, 2011

the post-bin Laden world

I have to say that today has been a surreal one. This day has historic connections--my students informed me that the same day saw the end to Hitler and Voldemort--which made me smile just a bit.

And I must say that most of what I have heard today has been thoughtful, though that may be due to the fact that I have listened exclusively to NPR. At noon, I heard a moving interview with a man who's son died hunting bin Laden. He was glad the man was dead, but had no joy or celebration in him. He had, as he said, "learned to leave hatred behind."

I am reminded of a story my brother told me years ago--though I have never been able to track it down. As the story goes, bandits attacked a buddhist camp and killed several of the monks. A visitor asked one of the survivors why they were not racing to track the bandits down and get some measure of revenge. The monk replied, "we learned long ago that we are not different than our enemies."

Maybe that story never happened, but I have always liked it. So much of our response to this seems to be cloaked in self-righteous rage and hatred at those who are different from us. But for many on my FB wall, the conversation is more muted. Most, as the man said, are glad bin Laden is gone, but not celebrating his death.

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