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Bin Laden's death is a triumph for humanity

It is a sentiment, I believe, that is shared by millions of other Muslims around the globe whose lives and core sense of identity have forever been damaged by wrongly being associated with the calamity that was Osama Bin Laden: Bin Laden is dead! What music to our ears! And yes, I am a Muslim who says this with no ambiguities.

The newscasts and analysis about this long-hoped-for and long-awaited triumph will forever be imprinted on our collective American psyche. But this will be imprinted on the Muslim-American psyche in more complex ways than on that of non-Muslim compatriots.       

President Barack Obama's memorial service to the 3,000-plus Americans of all faiths who perished in 9/11 and their families was a moving occasion. This memorial served as yet another acknowledgement of the shared trauma of this tragedy in our collective memory. 

Bin Laden's death represents a triumph over a group that has transformed our sense of security. For Muslim-Americans, 9/11 led to a fractured nation and a fractured world. Muslim-Americans became identified as outside of the imagined American community. Our collective attitudes and beliefs about the Islamic world (a world with more than a billion people), and about Muslim-Americans is forever defined by al-Qaida's terrorist activities and rhetoric.


Attacks used to justify the invasion of Iraq
Bin Laden's 9/11 attack was part of the justification the United States used to invade Iraq, an invasion that continues to devastate this nation. The Iraq war has led to the senseless death of what some estimate to be over 100,000 people in the last 10 years and the continued displacement of millions. Bin Laden and al-Qaida are also ultimately responsible for the thousands of civilians who have either died in al-Qaida hands or in American hands in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Moreover, the tortures in Guantanamo Bay and the infamous renditions and torture in foreign prisons of alleged al-Qaida affiliated prisoners, the racial profiling that is subjected to Muslim-Americans who have collectively become guilty until proven innocent, the FBI infiltration of mosques, and the sense of siege that many Muslim-Americans feel would not have occurred without Bin Laden's attack of 9/11 — or at least would not have occurred to the same extent.

And once again, the corrupt and weak governments in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia, among other Muslim nations, have failed to capitalize on the triumph that Bin Laden's death represents to undermine extremist movements in these nations and around the globe.

A triumph for all who've suffered from his extremism
Bin Laden's death represents not only an American triumph, but a triumph for all those who believe in building a more humane and just global community, a triumph for all peoples who have suffered from his extremist politics. Winning against al-Qaida and paying homage to the hundreds of thousands of people of all nationalities who died because of its twisted politics require that we cease our support for weak and corrupt governments like those in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Their leaders utterly fail to work for their citizens' best interests and security, a failure that ultimately also compromises American interests and security.

Cawo M. Abdi, PhD, is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota.

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Comments (3)

As Cawo Abdi states, Bin Laden's death has been celebrated in the United States and across the globe as it symbolized a triumph against extremism. This extremism has materialized, not only into specific problematic domestic and international U.S. measures to counter 'terrorism,' but also (I add) into a conflation, advanced by dictatorships across the Arab Land and elsewhere, that often associated demands for regime change and political reform with impulses towards extremism.

Let us celebrate this symbolic stroke against extremism... What a sweet feeling!

Cawo,

How the death of Osama Bin Laden becomes a triumph for humanity escapes me! The Death of an individual is never a triumph in my opinion! Osama included!

In your eyes does it mean killing Osama ends the threat of future violence directed against American people and our allies?

What about the fact that Osama and many others in the world have legitimate grievances that our country, in blind pursuit of national interest, chooses to ignore. I am referring here to the support we provide to oppressive regimes in the Islamic world, our insatiable need for oil and get it at whatever price policy we adopted; and our indiscriminate killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in response to the 3000 American (and other) citizens killed by Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda terrorists.

The fact that Osama Bin Laden was not armed when he was shot is the most abhorrent act of violence than anything he may have committed. We, the American people, were robbed of an opportunity to see him tried in a fair and transparent court of law. What is the difference between those we deem extremists and us? when we act in the same arbitrary manner as they do?

For me there are many unanswered question in this Bin Laden Saga! I honestly don't see any triumph for us here!

God Bless America

How many ways to describe the assassination of a terrorist:

I see bin Laden as a dead, old man now, riding a bony camel; wandering beyond the sunset searching furtively in his grimy robes that he wears like a shroud for, guess what...his journal..."Who took my journal?"
I see no hate on his ghostly features here; only a face empty of madness; replaced by an expressionless sadness as the lumpy, emaciated camel goes bumping along.

We all have our images...but who or what do we celebrate? Who really triumphs? We killed a terrorist but I think we have lost a few of our 'democratic' values in the process..."The enemy of our enemy...", Pogo is right.

According to the latest but-who-do-you-trust reports, all his nefarious journal plans are being studied by the Pentagon. Evil plans indeed they say, against a nation that had become Osama's singular obsession. Yet hate will surely survive in another form; hate with a new head, which may leave no joy in Mudville in 'Binny's' passing.

Do we holler a wild "Hooyah!" of triumph on the assassination, until we realize that we may have violated our own precious democracy in the process; at least as we once respected it?

The flavor-of-the-day, Terrorism, carries more than a faint essence of a world gone mad in the need to control others be it individuals, groups or nations...here, there, everywhere? Everybody; every nation wants to be Super Mouse, Super Man, Super Nation...is that the new world order?

I don't think it's been working too well lately. We need to go back and look in the mirror if only to recognize ourselves and what we may have so sureptiiously become?

Respond triumphantly with flag waving like we just won the game? Breath more than a sigh of relief at his passing? Instant euphoria at the death of Osama, but how do we handle our succeeding acts of retribution, like Our Gitmo,Our black sites; Our torture of others; Our continuing miss-some-hit-some drone attacks? Where do we find any rational justification?

It may be time to explore the roots of anti-USA ism and see where it takes us. The roots of hate need to be explored. We need to look at ourselves and see others, as others may view our 'vested self-interests' in others economies, other wars.
We need to ask so many 'whys' even before 9/11 which agitated such incomprehensible, unacceptable horror and death on our citizens, plus recognize later terrifying acts qualified by a nation so bathed in fear that anything was okay. Terrify to stop terrorism and qualify it in order soften the face in the mirror? I don't really don't know where we are going next and too many questions yet unanswered as to how we arrived at this place of terrifying duplicity. Say we have killed terror's number one monster, or we may have just killed a pathetic caricature.