Maximus: [after swiftly dispatching another gladiator] Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?
(quote taken from the film Gladiator)
Yesterday we were told that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US forces in Pakistan. I won’t go into the details or the huge amount of questions related to the “supposed” 9/11 attacks, or the hundreds of thousands of people that have lost their lives, been critically injured, or the millions affected one way or another by the decisions to invade Afghanistan or Iraq. But I wanted to write a little bit about the response of people as a result of this news.
There are many questions remaining about Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and their involvement in 9/11. If he did do, what’s been claimed he’s done, I simply want to know why? What motivated this man, to become the man we have been told he is? What were the experiences and environment which led him down the path he chose?
I ask those questions simply because, without a better understanding of the context behind this situation, how are we ever to avoid it in the future? Only through educating ourselves, and others, can we reach a middle ground of understanding where by perhaps a level of tolerance and respect can be achieved. Surely the world cannot move forward under a policy of bombing/destroying all those who oppose the views of the most powerful?
Hated breeds further hatred, and I dare say the wars in the middle east have actually served to create more extreme views and further hatred of Westernized Countries. This in turn then only helps to create greater divisions, increased stereotypes and a situation that is further removed from peaceful on both sides of the equation.
So are we not entertained?
I think it’s far to say a great number of people have shown that perhaps not all of humanity has outgrown the dark age mindset of being pleased at the death of a human being. America got its revenge, some people are jubilant, others excessively harsh in the quotes and judgements, and dare I say it, ill informed of the facts.
However, there have also been many others, who have chosen to keep their views to themselves, others who were solemn and respectful in their responses, choosing instead to reinforce a message of love, peace and understanding vs bloodshed and hatred. There were others still who really have been questioning the facts, the knock on effect of this, and asking when the wars will come to an end.
For those who choose not to seek glory in the death, bloodshed and hatred, I bow before you. For those caught up in the gladiatorial games of the modern age, in the entertainment played out before you on a global stage, I ask that you look below the surface of your perceived reality and begin to question the very fabric of the world you have come to believe in, based on your experiences/influences and environment. Only through looking at our world with different eyes can we see a greater picture emerging, of a world that is not fully in alignment with our own thinking, thought patterns and beliefs.
I will close the thread with a simple quote, one which is timeless and has been used across facebook and many other blog posts and comments the past couple of days. Those who understand the wisdom of these words, spread the seeds of hope for the generations to follow.
“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” – Martin Luther King, Jr.