Parallels

The understandably ‘rapturous’ crowds in New York and Washington when they heard the news of the death of Osama bin Laden reminded me of the equally understandably ‘joyful’ scenes in Gaza and parts of the West Bank on the occasion of 9/11. The Palestinian leadership tried quickly to stop the rejoicing since they knew it could not benefit their people. Perhaps similarly the joy in the USA has rapidly become tempered as more sober reality checks in. Just as 9/11 did not mark the beginning of the ‘fight against terrorism’ (Bush’s war on terror), so the death of Osama Bin Laden will not mark the end. There is something inherently distasteful at seeing people rejoicing at the deaths of others, whether it’s one person or thousands. I felt the same distaste earlier when Margaret Thatcher, in answer to a press question ‘Are we going to war with Argentina, Mrs Thatcher?’, responded, ‘Rejoice!’.

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