A friend of mine who is a philosopher and a UNESCO peace ambassador sent me an essay he wrote in French articulating his thoughts on the recent death of Osama bin Laden. The original text can be found here. As a humanist, his views are engaging in that they look at the event and its repercussions from an unbiased angle. I have translated the document to English for my readers:
Bin Laden was executed during a US Special Forces military intervention in Pakistan, a deed which beckons deep questions, in that his place of residence was not the mountains of Afghanistan, but in Pakistan and 50 kilometers from the capital and in a luxurious villa.
Was the Pakistani government really aware of his presence on their soil?? Nothing is certain! Once again, this country’s ambiguous role as well as its alliances are in question. Then, of course, the man who led a relentless ideological struggle did not hesitate to kill innocent victims and preach his hatred for the West. Thus he cannot be regretted, as he knew he was the most wanted man in the world. However, my speech as an ordinary philosopher will not join the demonstrations of joy that exist around the world including the USA. Of course, I can see and hear from the families of the victims of this crime that justice has finally been done!
However, bin Laden’s death is not the end of terrorism. This is because the causes which feed terrorism are still there.
Similarly, as with the killing of the Romanian couple in power (here he is referring to the 1989 execution of former President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena) , which I did not approve of at the time, bin Laden’s rapid immersion in the sea, which is against his religion, will shock Muslims who are even hostile bin Laden. Indeed, this hurried sinking aims to prevent pilgrimage to a place of burial which would serve to strengthen the myth he had become. But it is precisely the difference between terrorist/fanatics and those that represent democratic values that will exist in their varying behaviors following an individual’s death.
Most likely, an opportunity was lost in reducing the impact of terrorism, and which I would have liked to hear and have not heard, and that is: the actual President of the G20, President Obama, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon ,representatives of the European Union, etc. that they all take advantage of this exceptional occasion to reaffirm the fight against, and enhance the most promising measures of resentment and hatred. I am speaking of the poverty in developing countries, of the poorly treated disease epidemics, and the lack of education for hundreds of millions of disadvantaged children.
We should have taken advantage of this event, to reaffirm with actions, the commitment made at the September 2000 Millennium Summit which pledged to reduce poverty by 50% which affects real human rights by 2015, but which was not sustained due to the global financial crisis.
Unfortunately, an opportunity to reduce the margins of operation of international terrorism has been missed.