On the death of the boogieman…


I don’t care about being out celebrating, a man died, violence and hate still live, nothing to celebrate there.

His death is not justice, his death will not bring back the victims of 9/11 nor the victims of the wars on Afghanistan nor Iraq.

He accomplished exactly what he set out to do: stir up war during a time of peace and prosperity in the US. Inspire fear and xenophobia in the hearts of many Americans and Arabs alike.

My allegiance lies with all of humanity, not one flag nor one group of people nor one language. I love having the freedoms I have because I get to live here, that doesn’t stop me from questioning everything, and if you’re looking for me to be patriotic, there is nothing more patriotic than that.

As an Arab American, I’ve endured years of hearing people say the most horrible things about Arabs and Muslims. I’ve shocked many a racist by getting in their face about it, they don’t realize I’m Middle Eastern because I don’t cover my head and ride around on a camel.

When they are confronted by an actual human being that shatters all of their misconceptions and stereotypes, they start trying to justify their hatred by making excuses instead of apologizing and confessing ignorance.

After tonight, I never EVER want to see people using footage of Arabs celebrating someone’s death as evidence that all Arabs are savages.

My thoughts tonight are with the victims of 9/11 and the subsequent tragic wars. My thoughts are also with the woman who, in his last few moments of life, the murderous coward Bin Laden used as a human shield.

My first reaction tonight was to start a joke collection, I wanted to document people’s humorous reactions to his death. I hope I stick with collecting the jokes over the next few days.

I know it is insensitive to make jokes about anyone’s death but after surviving the Bush years and the heartbreaking tragedy of 9/11 and the subsequent tragedy of the wars, my heart can’t take the sadness anymore so it explodes into cynicism.

Humor is therapeutic, laughter is medicine, I want to stand in front of tragedy and fear and laugh in its face as I continue to push for a better tomorrow for everyone.

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4 thoughts on “On the death of the boogieman…

  1. “After tonight, I never EVER want to see people using footage of Arabs celebrating someone’s death as evidence that all Arabs are savages.”

    Thank you for your eloquent post. I quoted you on my FB page. As a Christian who just celebrated Easter I am very disturbed (but not surprised) by the reaction.

    I wish that bin Laden had been captured and tried for his crimes. Were there accomplices among our “friends”? Surely he had an incredible about of help and support to hide in plain sight all this time.

    That’s the kind of justice I crave.

  2. Thank you so much for your feedback, Veronica. I too thought about trial possibilities, but how do you select an unbiased jury? If he was to be tried at a military tribunal, how would we have been able to ensure that it would have been a fair trial?

  3. Yes, it would have been difficult to ensure a fair trial, but we should have done it… in an open and transparent process. That would have shown that our nation has a commitment to justice, not revenge.

    Bin Laden’s death was an assassination.

    Of course that raises the question as to whether government has the right to target and kill our enemies. Yes, we have the right to defend ourselves…but incarceration would’ve removed bin Laden as a threat and reduced him to being merely a human being, less of a “boogieman”.

  4. Not sure that came out correctly – what I meant about “reducing him to being merely a human being” – more like taking him down from a “legendary” status.

    Although bin Laden was a murderer, his crimes don’t reach the level of a Hitler or a Stalin who institutionalized their hatred, fear, and paranoia.

    I do not know enough about Islam to say…is it permissible to commit violence in order to prevent more violence? For many Christians this is a difficult question.

    As a Lutheran I look at the example of example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer – a German pastor/theologian who was involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler. He struggled with the same question and came to the conclusion that even a “righteous murder” was still a murder…and that he could only rely on God’s grace and forgiveness.

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