I woke up this morning to one of the most horrible pictures I have ever seen. As I opened the sealed Gulf News packet, the first thing I noticed was the blood stained face of Muammar Gaddafi spread across the entire first page. I am well aware of what a colossal moment this is in the history of Libya – the heralding of a new chapter for an oppressed people. However, what makes me cringe though, is the almost vulgar scenes of joy and celebration that I see in the various media covering the events that are currently unfolding.
I felt a similar unease back in May when, Osama Bin Laden was killed. My initial and internal reaction to the news both then and now was a quiet sense of relief. Call me naïve if you will, but the celebrations that follow make me extremely uneasy. The frenzied merriment seems too crass, too vulgar and very inhumane.
Should we rejoice in the death of a man no matter how evil he was? Is it right?
It is a sad truth that in the deaths of these men lay the steps of peace, progress and prosperity for many, many people. Their killings will no doubt allow the people of the world to lie a little more peacefully in their beds at night. But shouldn’t we be careful not to tip the scales towards celebration rather than quiet and thankful satisfaction – knowing that justice has been served at last?
I feel deeply sad when I see people celebrating in the streets. I cannot express in words why I feel so strongly about this. I’m just not comfortable in celebrating anyone’s death – no matter how terrible he or she was. I just know it is not what we want in our hearts. It is not what civilized, educated and compassionate people should willingly do. It feels like we have lost our way!
I’m going to continue my quiet introspection with the knowledge that celebratory dances on the graves of these men don’t make us any better than them and certainly don’t retract the heinous wrongs they inflicted on human beings world over.
I remember watching in horror the videos of Al Qaeda militants celebrating after the 9/11 attacks. This feels very similar…are we any different?