Monday, May 09, 2011

Quote of the Day

. . . The killing of bin Laden [along with a number of others, such as the young man at right] becomes one more waypoint in a quest for vengeance that will, as all acts of violence do, lead to ever more violence and death. The cycle must be broken. To do so will take much courage and sustained effort. Our prayers for the victims, both of bin Laden’s violence and our militarized response, must give way to true repentance — a turning away from violence as a path to national redemption. . . . Our struggle is to be worthy of the label "Christian" and as such compels us to reject violence and hatred, to eschew celebrations of violent "victories" and to deepen our commitment to "love our enemies" and build a world based on solidarity and the common good. In their statement on the death of Osama bin Laden, the Vatican reaffirms this call: "In the face of a man’s death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred." . . .

Pax Christi USA
May 4, 2011

Image: Although the Obama administration is yet to release images of Osama bin Laden's body, photos of those killed with him in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan have been released and published in Europe. Reuters news agency notes that the photos were taken about an hour after the U.S. assault on bin Laden's compound and "show three dead men lying in pools of blood, but no weapons."

There is much debate in the U.S. about releasing these types of photos and especially the images taken of the dead bin Laden. I believe they should be released. Why should Americans be shielded from the brutal and bloody reality of the wars and military operations they are funding and which are being conducted in their name? European countries have far fewer qualms about showing the truth about the violence of war. Americans, on the other hand, are generally kept in a state of ignorance. I think this is largely by design. And it may, in part, account for the higher level of jingoism we see among the American people. Many are simply clueless about the reality of war. Perhaps graphic images like the one above would help provide some perspective and lessen the celebratory chants of "USA, USA!"

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – May 1, 2011
Mark Weisbrot: Osama Bin Laden Provoked a US "War on Terror" that Strengthened His Movement
Praying for George W. Bush


Moderate Fundamentalist said...

Don't you think putting these photos on your blog will encourage violence and hatred?

Michael J. Bayly said...

Thanks for stopping by, MF.

Here's my take on your question: I think that if anyone's going to commit violence as a result of the killing of Osama bin Laden and/or of the young man pictured in this post, then they won't require a photo like this one to do so. The fact that bin Laden and others were assassinated -- a fact that even al-Qaida acknowledges -- is what is driving some to retaliative violence.

It is acts of killing that encourage more "violence and hatred." Sadly, it's a cycle, as the wise folks at Pax Christi and elsewhere observe.

I wonder: Are you similarly contacting President Obama and other U.S. government and military officials and asking them: Don't you think your violent actions will encourage violence and hatred? This seems to me to be the real question that needs to be asked.