In a clandestine operation a group of men entered a foreign country, without permission of its government, attacked a domestic residence, killed three people including a woman, made off with the body of one of them; which they subsequently dumped in the ocean, without participation of the relatives of the deceased.
These are the facts of the matter. They were a consequence of a “wanted dead or alive” notice issued by George Bush, previous President of the united States of America.
In reaction, nearly the whole world has expressed approval, ranging from satisfaction, solemn exaltation to wild exuberance. We have done this, even though the “Wild West” days in which men were flushed out by a posse, and killed on a wanted dead or alive notice, are long gone.
This world is made up of mostly good people who, by and large, insist on certain sacred principles. These include the fact that a person is presumed to be innocent until proved guilty before an independent adjudicating authority; that extra judicial killing is murder; that one cannot be accuser, judge/jury and executioner. The fact that the execution was on foreign soil, after clandestine invasion, is aggravating of the violation of these dearly held sacred beliefs and norms, embedded in a raft of dogmata called human rights. Indeed these rights are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed off by nearly all governments at the United Nations.
That is our belief set. They are a fundamental component of what we insist on, fight for and defend, having learnt from the lessons of history. We say that anything short of this is injustice. We say that an injustice to one is an injustice to all.
"We are bound by an inescapable garment of mutuality, whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." -Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.
- letter from the Birmingham Jail, 1962
But for the fact that the victim was Osama Bin Laden, we would have undoubtedly had an entirely opposite reaction and would have expressed negative emotions, ranging from disapproval to extreme condemnation.
In my book1 I advert to a saying that – “some are good even the bad, some are bad even the good”. The phenomenon of Bin Laden has managed to emphatically validate this saying. Many believe that bad boy Bin Laden was good. However the vast majority of good folk the world over, have suddenly ignored/changed all of the most fundamental and sacred rules that we post at the very center of unalienable human rights.
We have this “bad” approach because we have accepted what has been served up by the media. Bin Laden has been caricatured as the devil incarnate. At a stroke the awful power of the media is demonstrated. It has induced an almost universal anti Bin Laden hysteria. In that hysteria we fail to distinguish what is information and what is proof beyond reasonable doubt. We abandon all standards and our sacred beliefs. We have all accepted information from the media, not evidence, let alone proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the process Bin Laden, and those who died with him, accused and convicted of nothing, were divested of all their human rights … as were the 2752 innocent victims from 97 countries on 9/11, as well as so many others around the world. The blood of the innocents cry out, not so much for justice as for vengeance.
So as much as we may profess to believe in standards that accord with a level of personal integrity that we have assigned ourselves as civilized human beings, in the end we have been forced to accept that the ancients were not wrong when they insisted on “an eye for an eye”. *
All of the above is guaranteed once some believe that the gratuitous killing of other innocent human beings is justified in order to make a political statement. This thinking is grotesque, obscene and abhorrent on every count … and we instinctively all know that no God can approve of it.
1The Other –without fear, favor or prejudice. (See - http://theother.orgfree.com/)
* a further point made in the book