I felt defeated and outraged when I read today’s headlines about the death of four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
Do these people who are so enraged not realize that Sam Bacile’s thoughts and actions are not indicative of an entire nation?
I am sickened by the hatred.
My heart bleeds for the families and friends and children whose loved ones have been savagely stripped from their lives.
I want to cry over the senseless bloodshed.
I want to bang my fists into the ground so hard that the emotion ripples out across the globe: NO. NO! NO!!
NO MORE HATE!!!
But mixed in with that anger is exhaustion.
Too many years.
Too many generations.
Too many centuries of extremist judgment…
Yesterday, our great nation mourned the loss of thousands to the hands of Hate.
But we weren’t alone.
Other nations around the world suffered, as well, including some of Osama’s own countrymen who did not share his beliefs, and many more who did not agree with his tactics.
Those humans are no more responsible for bin Laden’s heinous behavior than Americans like Stevens are to the thoughts and beliefs of an individual film writer and director.
Many of them, too, are silently pleading for the carnage to stop.
Their hearts yearn, as mine, for a world that might someday be able to agree to disagree.
These stories and those words remind me of another time when I felt so many conflicting emotions…
Below is an excerpt of a piece I wrote in 2003, titled The Bride of Osama.
May a ceasefire begin…
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Blah, Blah, BLAH! Sometimes these Pollyanna, just-smile-and-look-the-other-way thoughts sicken me.
I’m not sure why today’s intolerances of sexual, racial or religious differences in our culture incense me to the point of wanting to speak out.
Maybe it’s having a teenager in the house, the persistent: “That’s so gay, He’s so gay,” diatribe that so many of our twenty-first-century youth use to describe anything or anyone they find, at least for a moment, disagreeable.
Maybe it’s a matter of growing older.
Maybe it’s a matter of having friends whom I’d rather not see verbally flogged.
Sugar and spice and everything nice…
Mom always said, “Kill ‘em with kindness.” I’ve tried.
Now, on rare occasions, I secretly think I’d rather wrap my fingers around the necks of hate-filled people and watch that hate-filled-life disappear from their hate-absorbed, bulging eyes.
But hate-crimes make me sick. They make me cry. They piss me off and leave me feeling powerless.
Talk around water coolers, on street corners, and in living rooms across America wreaked of hate immediately after 9-11.
“Hope they kill him… He doesn’t deserve to stand trial… He doesn’t deserve to live…”
On a warm spring day following the collapse of the Twin Towers, my husband and I drove four hours to pick up some furniture.
Like most conversations of that time, ours turned to the whereabouts and plans of Osama.
“I’d put a bullet between his eyes if I had the chance.”
I believe that’s what my husband proclaimed, like hundreds of thousands of others had, like many of you whose heads are bobbing in agreement right this second.
“Then that makes you no different from him.”
My husband’s mild-mannered temperament is likely the only thing that kept him from stopping the car and kicking me to the curb after I dared compare him to such a monster.
Those eight little words, thirty-four, singly insignificant letters strung together, spawned a six-hour and somewhat heated debate.
I tried to explain my logic: “We’re his enemy because everything we do is against his beliefs. He feels threatened by us. To him, eliminating our power is a matter of self-preservation. He doesn’t see what he’s doing as wrong. For you to want to blow his brains out, along with those of his supporters, to annihilate his kind, makes you on a primal level no different from him.”
“And you would do? What?” My husband jeered.
“I just wish there was someone who could mediate compromise. There’s got to be someone who could reason with him.”
“There are some people you just can’t reason with,” my husband announced.
“Would you rather wait until he’s another Hitler, until he’s killed hundreds of thousands and has enough power to take over our country before you’d try to do something?” He argued further.
“I just wish we could all understand each other’s differences and let it go at that,” I lamented.
The discussion ended in agree-to-disagree fashion.
But wouldn’t you know, some ten months later, that conversation once again took center stage.
At my father’s dining-room table.
While we celebrated my birthday.
Once again I found myself defending those eight little words: “Then that makes you no different from him.”
My father terminated the discussion. Abruptly.
“I thought I raised you better than that.”
“So, how about some cake and ice cream?” I rallied.
I returned home and rehashed the cozy little birthday scene with one of my good friends. “You’d have thought I’d told them I’d crawled into bed with Osama bin Laden.”
She understood the irony of the whole sordid mess—the hatred, the senseless bloodshed, and those eight little words.
“Are you going to be Osama’s next bride?” She laughed.
I laughed. Relief.
I’ve used those eight little words thousands of times since but never ordered the same. I stashed that offensive and potentially life-threatening one-liner deep in a dark closet.
In some ways, then, that makes me no different from him, Osama that is.
A coward in hiding.
In my defense, I shall say what we all know: Two cross-referencing topics can trigger an explosion far greater than those which brought down the Twin Towers: Religion and Politics.
I am not a martyr.
Would it not be foolish of me to speak my opinion and risk being detained by those who would twist those eight little words into terrorist support?
Would it not be foolish of me to say I support abortion, to risk losing my job in a faith-based organization, or chance that my children will be told their mother is a baby killer?
Would it not be foolish of me to say I believe that non-heterosexuals should be allowed to live until “death do us part,” that they should also be allowed to divorce and fight it out in court like the rest of us?
If I ask people to think about how their uncensored desire to kill Osama mirrors that which drove him to orchestrate the attacks on the Twin Towers, will they? Or will I become a target?
If I were to challenge pro-life supporters to put their money where their mouths are, to begin fostering or adopting the thousands of abandoned, neglected or abused children who might not have been brought into this world if abortion were socially and financially supported: Would they open their hearts and homes to these children they insist deserve the right to live?
If I were to ask religious supporters who oppose homosexual relationships to ponder the church’s Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” would they realize the hypocrisy of hiding behind religion to prevent non-heterosexuals a basic right such as marriage?
We are a divided nation, at war with itself over too many issues…
Most ironically, at the present, we are at war with ourselves over war.
We, the citizens of these United States, believe we learned our lesson following the Vietnam War.
Today, hundreds of thousands of cars sport bumper stickers: “We support our troops.”
But not the warmost of them chant.
The media has captured the voices of many soldiers who oppose this war.
But, what about the thousands who proudly fight for this country’s freedom?
Do those bumper stickers support them as well?
What about the non-heterosexual men and women who faithfully serve, or desire to defend our country?
Do those four words apply to them?
Only, it seems, if the issue stays locked behind Clinton-esque closed doors: Don’t ask. Don’t tell.
It’s said that every story has two sides.
There are, however, three points to consider: fact, fiction, and individual truth—which which is often blurred between those opposing f-words.
That said, let me make one thing crystal clear: If Osama were to come out of hiding and show up on my doorstep, I would notcrawl into bed with him.
I would kiss him on the cheeks in his country’s custom, offer him a Diet Coke, and try to reason…
Oh, I forget… the quandary…
In his world, those actions would justify him putting a bullet between my eyes..
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