So Ben Laden is dead. I have to say it came as an utter surprise. I thought he was already dead. I confess that coverage of news like this always leaves me a little confused. Obama did a good job reminding everyone why Ben Laden was a “bad person”. I know there are still those that still believe Ben Laden was not responsible for 9/11, but then again there are also those who still believe that Obama was not born in the United States….
The most poignant part about Obama’s remarks was the pain-not-visible of Ben Laden’s victims. I am not quoting verbatim, but something along the lines of parents deprived of seeing their children grow up and children forced to grow up without a father or a mother. It is important to humanize the numbers that the media otherwise just lists as statistics, because ultimately we need to be reminded of our humanity.
I found myself wondering though about the Afghan and Iraqi civilian suffering. One estimate is that there were as many Afghan civilian casualties as a direct result of the US “Operation Enduring Freedom” as there were American civilian deaths in 9/11. (See http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mwherold/dossier for an attempt at recording those pains-not-visible).
Without a doubt, the world is a better place without the likes of Ben Laden. But also, without a doubt, there remains a long path to walk before the world is a truly just place that treasures our common humanity.