[International Herald Tribune, France]



Visao, Portugal

Osama and Us: Celebrating Death Like it's a Football Title


"I don’t know how the 21st century world, where Western, democratic, humanist societies ascribe to Christian values, celebrate the death of a man late into the night. As if it were celebrating a football championship. There are times that it would be best not to show off our contentment."



Translated By Brandi Miller


May 5, 2011


Portugal - Vasio - Original Article (Portuguese)

Japanese Naval Marshal General and commander-in-chief of Japan's Combined Fleet during World War II, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was the man behind the attack on Pearl Harbor. As with bin Laden, no tears were shed over the operation to kill him. But even in the case of war, is it proper to celebrate the death of another human being?


AL-JAZEERA VIDEO: Senator John Kerry visits Pakistan to try and calm strained relations with the U.S., May 16, 00:02:05RealVideo

On April 18, 1943, U.S. fighter jets intercepted and shot down the aircraft carrying Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto as he visited Japanese bases in the Solomon Islands. He was a kind of public enemy number one for the United States, after he had planned and coordinated the operation to attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Thanks to the ally of "intelligence," which had made the interception and decoding of an ultra-secret message from the Japanese Navy, it became possible to eliminate the mastermind behind the "Day of Infamy." Morality condemning the operation, a cold plot to physically eliminate this man, was never considered. The two parties were at war and Yamamoto died in combat.


A poor comparison would be September 11, 2001 and the attack on the Twin Towers, which for the Americans was a second day of infamy. On that day, the U.S. president, George W. Bush, declared: "We are at war." In a broad sense, Osama bin Laden, the 21st century Yamamoto, was commander of a belligerent army, and if we want to reassure our consciences in the face of this cold plot to kill him rather than put him trial - we may say that he died in combat.   



This, at least to me, is the best argument to justify some relief, which I do feel, over the demise of this man, who represented everything that we should fear most: barbarism, fundamentalism, intolerance, cruelty, fanaticism, regression of civilization and war paranoia. We know perfectly well that if al-Qaeda had access to a dirty nuclear bomb, they would detonate in any of our cities they could: in America, the United Kingdom, Spain … or Portugal. Their project to restore the Grand Caliphate, with the recovery and re-Islamization of the Iberian Peninsula, can only be compared to the warlike thinking of Hitler when he swept through Poland, and wanted to sweep through the USSR all the way to the Crimea.


But I still feel a certain "bitter aftertaste" when I hear the voices of civilized people, elected by the Portuguese - a country that, as we were reminded by Mário Soares, was a pioneer in the abolition of the death penalty … welcome the execution of a man. No death should be cause for celebration. But that isn't all that's at stake. As an academic exercise, if a Portuguese force cornered and detained Osama on our territory, would we obey our own laws? Would we refuse to extradite him to countries that apply the death penalty or life imprisonment? Would we turn him over to the United States? Look at what they said: "The disappearance [good euphemism …] of bin Laden is a morale boost" (Foreign Minister Luís Amado). "A victory and blow to terrorism" (Defense Minister Augusto Santos Silva). "Congratulations to the United States" (Ribeiro e Castro, president of parliament's Commission on Foreign Affairs). "A great achievement!" (European Commission President Durão Barroso). What do these politicians have in common? They are all Portuguese, they are all against the death penalty, and they are all delighted that bin Laden was killed like a dog.


He got what he deserved, the reader might say. I might even agree. But I don’t know how the 21st century world, where Western, democratic, humanist societies ascribe to Christian values, celebrate the death of a man late into the night. As if it was celebrating a football championship. There are times that it would be best not to show off our contentment.


Die Welt, Germany: With Osama's Killing, Americans Deny Germans a 'Happy Ending
The Frontier Post, India: Pakistan Must Remove Any Excuse for American Raids
Hindustan Times, India: ISI Officials to Be Charged in U.S. Court for Mumbai Attacks
Telegraph, U.K.: What Next for Brand bin Laden?
Telegraph, U.K.: Osama bin Laden hiding place visited by Taliban
Global Times, China: Western Criticism of Pakistan is Wrongheaded and Unfair
La Jornada, Mexico: Afghan Official Asserts: 'Osama Blew Himself Up'
Tehran Times, Iraq: West Uses bin Laden's Death to Distract from Bahrain Atrocities
Diario Decuyo, Argentina: Bin Laden's Death is a 'Call to Arms' for the World's Clergy
El Pais, Spain: After bin Laden: West Must Reflect on Methods of Self-Defense
News, Switzerland: The Pope and the Terrorist: Two Misguided Beatifications
Tagesspiegel, Germany: Osama Photo Issue - Obama's Morally Superior to Bush
The Nation, Pakistan: Afghan Official Asserts: 'Osama Blew Himself Up'
Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Finally, It's Beginning of the End for al-Qaeda
Al-Seyassah, Kuwait: Osama Now Being Licked by the 'Hottest Flames in Hell'
Les Dernieres Nouvelles d'Alsace, France: Osama's Photo: 'The Impossible Truth'
Der Spiegel, Germany: Donald Trump and the 2012 'Campaign of Lunacy'
Excelsior, Mexico: Obama Quiets 'Right-Wing Witch Hunters' ... for Now
Izvestia, Russia: Osama bin Laden: From Abbottabad to Hollywood
Frontier Post, Pakistan: U.S. Raid Exposes Pakistan's 'Unnerving Vulnerability'
Al-Madina, Saudi Arabia: Osama Died, But those Who Gain from Terror War Live
Dar al-Hayat, Saudi Arabia: Osama and His Whole Way of Thinking - are Dead
Daily Jang, Pakistan: Operation Against Osama Spells Trouble for Pakistan
Kayhan, Islamic Republic of Iran: Obama Seeks to 'Vindicate Bush'
Outlook Afghanistan: U.S. Must Pursue Mullah Omar as it did bin Laden
Pak Tribune, Pakistan: Senators Call U.S. Operation a Breach of Sovereignty
Frontier Post, Pakistan: Osama Episode Puts Safety of Nuke Assets in Peril
El Pais, Spain: Obama 'Decapitates' the al-Qaeda Hydra
Folha, Brazil: Bin Laden's 'Second Death'
Folha, Brazil: Death Won't Kill Osama's Violent Ways or Speech
Dawn, Pakistan: The Urgent Importance of Showing 'Mutual Respect'
The Independent, U.K.: Killing of bin Laden 'Huge Blow' to Islamist Terror
The Telegraph, U.K.: OBITUARY: Osama bin Laden
Telegraph, U.K.: Taliban Commander Vows to Avenge bin Laden's Death
Guardian, U.K.: Hamas Praises bin Laden as Holy Warrior
Telegraph, U.K.: Death of bin Laden is Rough Justice, Wild West-Style
Dawn, Pakistan:
Pakistanis Hold Rally in Honor of bin Laden
Dawn, Pakistan: Pakistan Asks U.S. Envoy to Avoid bin Laden 'Spin'

Xinhua. China: Six Children and Two Wives of bin Laden Arrested By Pakistan
Daily Star, Lebanon: Prime Minister Hariri: 'Bin Laden Got What He Deserved'

Daily Star, Lebanon: Lebanese Muslim Preachers Hail Osama for U.S. Attack


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