The news spread like lightening last night, across social media and leaked by the news, before the President could make his official announcement: “Osama Bin Laden is dead.”
Bin Laden had been hiding out not in a cave in the wilds of Afghanistan, but in a specially built mansion in the heart of an affluent suburb of the capital of Pakistan. In a neighborhood that houses mostly retired Pakistani military and intelligence officers. The President green-lighted a military strike force to capture Bin Laden early Sunday morning and by Sunday evening the President was informed that Bin Laden was dead. As Bin Laden had said previously, he would not be taken alive. During the firefight he was shot in the head and then buried at sea after identification.
The man hunt for Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 terror attacks that killed 3,000 people, spanned 10 years and frustrated 2 Presidents. When news of Bin Laden’s dead came out, Washington DC residents surrounded the White House cheering and singing. Social Media like facebook and Twitter exploded. Impromptu parties broke out and few employers announced that Monday would be a paid day off.
How did Pagans react to the news? Phaedra Bonewits said on facebook, “So conflicted to be glad for a death. Mourning our lost service members.” Lori Dake wrote a short post on Warriors & Kin “I’m sure I can come up with something a little more poetic, but right now, I am of few words. THANK YOU to our Troops. You deserve nothing short of our thanks and praise. I, for one, do not care one iota who officially gets the kudos; I’m just happy this mass murderer is dead. As a news reporter just stated, it is not natural to celebrate a death, but in this case – yeah, I’ll pour another drink! “
Local Pagans also had mixed reactions to the news. Diana Rajchel said, “I believe that there are yet more consequences for the US action ahead. From an ethical perspective, it’s messy – I do think that Bin Laden’s actions both upon the US and upon the Afghani people required him to be put down. From my light and shadow style Wiccan perspective, there are extraordinarily rare times when killing is necessary, and Bin Laden was definitely an example of that extremely rare instance.”
Tasha Rose began the evening with slightly positive view of Bin Laden’s death but quickly became disgusted by the reaction of other people. “Those of you who are praising this death, shame on you. No death should ever be celebrated, not even that of someone like bin Laden. Wake up folks and remember that we all belong to one another and what we do to our hand ripples to our eye, and from our knee, to our foot. Hurt a part of the body, hurt the entire thing.”
As for me, I spent the evening toasting our dead with the best vintage I had in the house, and it was a very fine Le Cave Pinotage. I didn’t feel joy at Bin Laden’s death, but I did feel a great sense of relief. Hekate’s host of unavenged dead just lost about 3000 spirits. Less spirits for me to feed when I set out Hekate’s Deipnon meal tonight. Nemesis has balanced the scales. Both are dread Goddesses, but I honor them as much as laughing Aphrodite and sweet Hestia. I hope those poor souls lost on 9/11 and in the two wars since can finally find peace.
ADDENDUM: Gypsy Nilsen provides and interesting view on Bin Laden’s death and Pagan rights, ” Being Druid, I feel spirit resides in all things. That being said, if a bear is attacking me or my family, threatening our safety, I would not hesitate to shoot it. That does not mean I would celebrate it. Osama bin Laden was a threat, in many ways, to not only the US, but worldwide. For me I will offer prayers of thanks to the Gods for this chapter ending and I will pray for the lives of those who have been killed and I will pray for those who are left devastated by this man.
One issue I am having difficulty resolving is that, according to new reports, his body was handled in accordance with Islamic beliefs. That is good, but I have to ask why good men and women who willingly gave their lives in the hunt for that man, were not allowed to have a pentacle on their headstones until pagans united and made it happen?”