by Mohsin Rizvi
As the world celebrates the death of Osama bin Laden, I wonder if this reaction is worth a life so trivial. It is true that Osama bin Laden was the greatest terrorist ever, that he took thousands of lives, and orchestrated horrific acts of violence. However, it cannot be ignored that in the end, bin Laden was just one man… Nothing more, and nothing less…
I refuse to attribute all the torture and hardships the world has faced in the last decade to one person's actions and beliefs. The world is no better than it was while he lived. The American government still taps our phones, racially profiles people, illegally holds inmates at Guantanamo Bay, and still has troops spread out through the Middle-East. Sectarian violence still exists in Muslims countries, religious fundamentalists continue to impose their ideals through violence, and women are still universally denied equal treatment…
So why are we dancing at Ground Zero?
I recall all the sacrifices made by the American people to give their political leadership the power to successfully hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden. I feel the consequence of those sacrifices everyday. The death of bin Laden is not an “accomplishment” of the American government, it is simply a promise being upheld by those we pay our taxes too. It's nothing more than a fair trade. Thats capitalism, it's the American dream. American citizens gave up their privacy, freedoms, money, and lives to get Osama bin Laden and some of us citizens are not going to say “thank you” for the government holding up its side of the bargain. We gave up a lot for the promise of “getting him”, and our sacrifices fueled a monster larger and more capable of destruction than one man's fanatic worldview.
We have created a monster out of America. We allowed this country to tear apart the world in its obsessive hunt for Osama bin Laden. American citizens half-heartedly gave a shrug of support as this country fought to destroy the very ideology of terrorism. As if thoughts could be criminal, or that to openly disagree with American foreign policy was somehow an immoral act. We citizens paid for Osama bin Laden's death, we paid for it with the sacrifice of our own innocence. We accepted that our nation look at all of us with suspicion. We accepted billboards with toll-free numbers where we can disclose information on any neighbor we suspect of partaking in “terrorist activity”. We were all guilty of terrorism until our private actions and conversations did not prove that we are “patriots”.
Osama bin Laden may be dead but I am still alive, and I am still considered guilty. This guilt I absorbed to help find Osama bin Laden now serves no purpose, but the cost of “freedom” will still be imposed. The privacy of American citizens will not be returned, the civil rights and liberties will not be recovered by the populace; America will never be the same again. Which makes me wonder, if Osama bin Laden is no longer the problem, how will the government justify its actions? Who will be the next “bad guy”?
I don't care about Osama bin Laden, and to be quite frank, I never really did. Anyone can kill 3000 people, but it takes a willing nation to kill 1,000,000. 9/11 did not introduce the world to just one monster, it was a day that created two. So don't expect me to dance, or celebrate, I am not even going to smile. While one monster may have died, the other one still holds a knife to my back, a gun in my mouth, and collects my taxes.
Mohsin Rizvi is a Spoken Word Poet and lives in Orlando, Florida. Born and raised in the U.S, he was profoundly affected by the events of 9/11 and immediately left his university studies to travel through the Middle-East. He eventually settled in Karachi, Pakistan where he studied Fine Arts at The Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. He performs poetry nationally, has been featured on numerous radio stations, and has been published in newspapers across the globe.