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?”
10 thoughts on “Local Pagans React to Bin Laden’s Death”
When I first saw the title of this post, my reaction was to wonder: Why should there be a “Pagan” reaction to this event? But Cara has indeed found a thread of reactions affording a different perspective. Well done.
I have very mixed feelings. Ever since 9-11 our government has blatantly acted outside its own law and constitution, and even the international ‘laws of war’. If this event results in a national sense that ‘justice’ and ‘vengeance’ has now been served, and we can move back to operating within our Constitution and international law, great! The US Government has encroached upon rights to privacy, religion, association, and access; and, standards of national conduct have been stretched to unjustifiable limits in the last ten years. Our extended action in Afghanistan has been supported by the argument, Ben Ladin is still there, right across the border, how can we leave?
If Obama can use this really isolated event as an excuse to help get the US out of all foreign entanglements, and hep the US to reclaim it’s dedication to democracy and civil rights
( international and at home), I will consider it really positive. If instead it just fuels another round of ‘damn the law’ … if we want it, let’s do it, take it, or attack it, well that will just fuel a cycle of retribution and national crisis.
I don’t see a conflict in supporting the many people who may feel personally better, avenged, or safer today, or the troops around the world who follow orders and do their best. Let’s not support a jingoistic celebration either.
def: Jingoism is extreme patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy. In practice, it is a country’s advocation of the use of threats or actual force against other countries in order to safeguard what it perceives as its national interests. Colloquially, it refers to excessive bias in judging one’s own country as superior to others – an extreme type of nationalism.
@ Nels Linde >
I couldn’t agree with you more; well said, and thank you for reaffirming that there are still some people who haven’t lost sight of the big picture. The crux of the matter is that ultimately, our Middle East problems are our own doing for the last 100+ years. To pretend otherwise is to be a fool.
very very true. It is our own doing. We americans really are the bully. We are so anxious to have our foot in the door we lose sight of our morals and what is really important!
It is not a matter of celebrating at least not in my case. I see is as a matter of justice. He declared War, on us and our way of life. He masterminded the deaths of thousands, and financed the operations that committed those acts. He then hid from the people he declared war against. If I have a cause I am willing to die for I don’t hide, I stand proud and right or wrong make my stand. Such is not the case for Bin Laden. I do not mourn his death, he chose this path, I do not celebrate it either.
oh yeah praise be to killing people. So Pagan of all of you. Your spiritual growth has not happened yet. Love your enemies more because they need it. What would the Dalai Lama say, or what would Buddha say? Not oh yeah let’s be glad. To celebrate death is to be a terrorist. The repercussions are going to be massive, and our men women and children are going to die at the hands of the people who are plagued by his death. Feel safe now, it won’t last long, there will be bloodshed. America kicked the beehive. You should have gone after all of them if you were gonna do anything. And that justice isn’t doing anything, it is only sparking retaliation. There is no justice, you put him out of his misery and suffering of sickness, and made him happy.
I think my reaction is best described as pain. Something to me instantly did not feel right. First I hear a drone strike kills him, then some Navy Seals? Then I hear his body is dumped at sea, the DNA evidence is not going to be released for outside scrutiny, and then to top it off he’s found in some mansion just a mile from a military training facility?? Then I remembered hearing an interview with Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, who at one point (in 2007) is describing Osama bin Laden’s killers! Something is not right here, and my intuition is agreeing with my ah, baloney meter. That said, if he truly did meet Hades this time, well, the most I will feel is slight relief, knowing full well that this is far more complicated than one movement or one man, and that until we rebalance our own karma regarding politics in that region (by ending interventionism once and for all), things will just continue in yet another iteration of death and violence.
I am glad Osama is dead! I celebrate his death, even as he celebrated the deaths of thousands. As for “No death should be celebrated” BULL! Who wrote those rules?
We all die, some sooner in our lives than others, some sooner because of their own actions. Everything Osama did built up to this. I can see choosing inprisonment over execution when there is a chance of the person not continuing his bad actions, but even from prison Osama could and would reach out and inspire terrorism.
And what about “karma”? Who’s to say that the Navy S.E.A.L.s weren’t the “hand of karma” doing unto Osama as he has done unto others.
tation of ancient religions tries to convince us that the past was all light and fluffy if it weren’t for those darn Christians,and that those ancient religions “do no harm”.
The Morrigan were not peaceful, Kali is the goddess of destruction, Athena, of war as well as knowledge.
As for the cropping up of new cospiracy theories of “he’s not really dead” or some such other nonsense – I think that the real conspiracy actually making people think there is a conspiracy!
I’m very glad he’s dead, and I hope he roasts in hell. He, like many of his ilk, blames the West for the corruption and failures of his culture. His allies in the Taliban operate like the mafia on steroids.
None of the people who died in the attacks on New York and Washington had any responsiblity for oppressing anyone in the middle east. Nor did the Kenyons who died in the embassy bombing.
Bin Laden would stone you and clitorize your daughters. He wasn’t seeking understanding, he was seeking the power to dictate what you can do, say, and think. He and his friends seek to destroy the culture which allows us to speak and act freely as pagans.
Cultural self-loathing on our part will not win friends.
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