There was much rejoicing. But should there be?
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the LORD see it, and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. (Prov. 24:17-18).
Taking the life from someone else will never be an act of justice – it does not restore what has been lost, but rather, brings further loss onto the world. When we die, we will have to face God. None of us know beforehand what to expect. When someone is killed, the world has lost another life, another good (however abused) has been lost. That person will have to face God as the rest of the world will have to face the consequences of that death. The gloating of one day can turn to terror and despair the next as the cycle of vengeance continues. Let us pray that does not happen. Let us hope that, somehow, we can overcome the cycle of death, as P. Federico Lombardi said
Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace.
What helped bring Osama Bin Laden into existence? That is what we should seek to end, that is what we need to conquer and overcome. Fr. Anton Pascual points out at least one of the sources of violence in the world today:
But we need to address the root problem of the world’s social ills that is neo-capitalist hegemonic expansion exploiting the poor, environment and families in the name of pseudo-development and modernity.
Bin Laden, obviously, was not poor, but he exploited them, having learned how to do so by the leaders of the West. When the poor become desperate, that desperation can become the means by which they are manipulated. Bin Laden learned that and used it for his own end. But he will not be the only one. As long as the worldwide economic crisis continues, people will rise up to direct the anger of the poor. Their violence, as with any violence, will not be justified – but it can be prevented if we take the time to deal with the root causes now before it is too late. It will cost far less life and resources to help the poor than to fight them, to help fix the world now than to try to fix it after the devastation of war.
The death of Bin Laden certainly leaves the world different today. As with every act of aggression, with every act of war, we should see it as a defeat for humanity. If only Bin Laden could have had a change of heart, like St Paul or St Vladimir. Think about the good he could have done. Now that would have been a victory.