As an American, I feel obligated to address what has become a topic of conversation lately: the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death and the resulting media blitz. One immediate reservation I have is prompted by the following question: What news are we NOT reading about as a result of all news channels being clogged with stories about bin Laden?
I was surprised this question was not asked by Peter Joseph of The Zeitgeist Movement in his response below. I did find Peter's words to ring true, and wanted to honor his perspective. Ever since the first Zeitgeist movie (2007) attempted to tackle the difficult information surrounding the events of 9/11, I trust that Mr. Joseph will offer a fresh perspective on things.
Jonathan Blackwell - May 8, 2011
On May 1, 2011 Pres. Barack Obama appeared on national television with the
spontaneous announcement that Osama bin Laden, the purported organizer of
the tragic events of September 11th 2001, was killed by military forces in
Within moments, a media blitz ran across virtually all television networks
in what could only be described as a grotesque celebratory display,
reflective of a level of emotional immaturity that borders on cultural
psychosis. Depictions of people running through the streets of New York and
Washington chanting jingoistic American slogans, waving their flags like
the members of some cult, praising the death of another human being,
reveals yet another layer of this sickness we call modern society.
It is not the scope of this response to address the political usage of such
an event or to illuminate the staged orchestration of how public perception
was to be controlled by the mainstream media and the United States
Government. Rather the point of this article is to express the gross
irrationality apparent and how our culture becomes so easily fixed and
emotionally charged with respect to surface symbology, rather than true
root problems, solutions or rational considerations of circumstance.
The first and most obvious point is that the death of Osama bin Laden means
nothing when it comes to the problem of international terrorism. His death
simply serves as a catharsis for a culture that has a neurotic fixation on
revenge and retribution. The very fact that the Government which, from a
psychological standpoint, has always served as a paternal figure for it
citizens, reinforces the idea that murdering people is a solution to
anything should be enough for most of us to take pause and consider the
quality of the values coming out of the zeitgeist itself.
However, beyond the emotional distortions and tragic, vindictive pattern of
rewarding the continuation of human division and violence comes a more
practical consideration regarding what the problem really is and the
importance of that problem with respect to priority.
The death of any human being is of an immeasurable consequence in society.
It is never just the death of the individual. It is the death of
relationships, companionship, support and the integrity of familial and
communal environments. The unnecessary deaths of 3000 people on September
11, 2001 is no more or no less important than the deaths of those during
the World Wars, via cancer and disease, accidents or anything else.
As a society, it is safe to say that we seek a world that strategically
limits all such unnecessary consequences through social approaches that
allow for the greatest safety our ingenuity can create. It is in this
context that the neurotic obsession with the events of September 11th, 2001
become gravely insulting and detrimental to progress. An environment has
now been created where outrageous amounts of money, resources and energy is
spent seeking and destroying very small subcultures of human beings that
pose ideological differences and act on those differences through violence.
Yet, in the United States alone each year, roughly 30,000 people die from
automobile accidents, the majority of which could be stopped by very simple
structural changes. That's ten 9/11's each year... yet no one seems to pine
over this epidemic. Likewise, over 1 million Americans die from heart
disease and cancer annually - causes of which are now easily linked to
environmental influences in the majority. Yet, regardless of the over 330
9/11's occurring each year in this context, the governmental budget
allocations for research on these illnesses is only a small fraction of the
money spent on “anti-terrorism” operations.
Such a list could go on and on with regard to the perversion of priority
when it comes to what it means to truly save and protect human life and I
hope many out there can recognize the severe imbalance we have at hand with
respect to our values.
So, coming back to the point of revenge and retribution, I will conclude
this response with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., likely the most
brilliant intuitive mind when it came to conflict and the power of
non-violence. On September 15, 1963 a Birmingham Alabama church was bombed,
killing four little girls attending Sunday school.
In a public address, Dr. King stated:
“What murdered these four girls? Look around. You will see that many
people that you never thought about participated in this evil act. So
tonight all of us must leave here with a new determination to struggle. God
has a job for us to do. Maybe our mission is to save the soul of America.
We can't save the soul of this nation throwing bricks. We can't save the
soul of this nation getting our ammunitions and going out shooting physical
weapons. We must know that we have something much more powerful. Just take
up the ammunition of love.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, 1963 -