The Big Death: Reactions to the Killing of Osama Bin Laden
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  • Post published:13/05/2021
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There has been plenty of reaction to Osama Bin Laden’s death. Some of it may surprise you.

Osama Bin Laden is dead. I know the conspiracy theorists thought he’s been dead for years, but just for the sake of the rest of us, I’m going to go out on a limb and believe the most sought-after terrorist in the world did die when and where President Obama said he did.

Osama Bin LadenIn parts of the United States, there has been a gleeful rejoicing — and you can be sure, however, that Bin Laden is being mourned somewhere. And just as his life has caused us to ask some big questions, so too has his death. In particular, people are asking: Is it moral to celebrate the death of any human being? Some believe that yes, to celebrate the death of an enemy is only human. Others say that meeting hate with hate only feeds more hatred.

Americans Celebrate Bin Laden's deathRegardless, Osama Bin Laden’s death has drawn reaction from all quarters. Everyone from the Islamic community to the Roman Catholic church to Lady Gaga has had something to say. Below are some of the comments about Bin Laden’s death that we hope will spark reflection and inspire us to continue to learn about life as a human in all its complexities.

Watching Obama announce Bin Laden's death on TV

“Geronimo-E KIA.”
— Navy SEAL coded message sent to Washington announcing Bin Laden’s death. KIA is thought to stand for Killed in Action.

“We got him”.
— Reportedly what President Obama said when all evidence indicated Osama Bin Laden was dead.

“Bin Laden is dead. I didn’t kill him. Please let me sleep now.”
—  Sohaib Athar, a Twitter user was unknowingly reporting details of the raid when he complained on Twitter about helicopter noise.

“With a bold red banner and the long-awaited word —”Deceased” — the Federal Bureau of Investigation retired Osama bin Laden from its Most Wanted lists early Monday morning.
— From the article “With Osama Bin Laden Dead, FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitive List Has An Opening, Big Shoes To Fill” by Laura Gottesdiener, Huffington Post

“OK, he’s dead. Can we go home?”
—  Soldier at Bagram, Spc. William Baxter, as reported by Mother Jones magazine.

“Bin Laden’s assassination comes as the crowning of a new peaceful movement that is taking the Middle East by storm.”
—Author and Al-Hayat journalist Hazem al-Amine, who specializes in radical Islamic groups in Lebanon

“It doesn’t bring back all the wonderful people who were killed 10 years ago. It’s long overdue.”
— Bonnie McEneaney, 57, wife of Eamon McEneaney, who died in the 9/11 attacks (

“We hope this is a turning point away from the dark period of the last decade, in which Bin Laden symbolized the evil face of global terrorism. His actions and those of al Qaeda have violated the sacred Islamic teachings upholding the sanctity of all human life. His acts of senseless terror have been met with moral outrage by Muslims worldwide at every turn in the past decade.”
— Muslim Public Affairs Council President Salam Al-Marayati

“My heart is broken. In the past, we heard a lot of rumors about his death, but if he did die, it is a disaster and a black day.”
— Mohebullah, a Taliban fighter-turned-farmer in eastern Afghanistan

“Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace.”
— The Vatican

“I feel relieved for my religion, for the future of the Arab world. I feel sad for somebody who was a friend.”
— Jamal Khashoggi, former editor-in-chief of the Saudi newspaper al-Watan. He knew bin Laden and fought alongside other Arabs in Afghanistan during the Soviet era. He last interviewed bin Laden in his home in Khartoum in 1995.

“To be quite frank, I am very happy that this man is dead. I was always raised, obviously, never to hope for someone’s death, but I’m willing to make an exception in this case… He was evil personified, and our world is a better place without him.”
— Gordon Felt, head of a family group for United Flight 93, which crashed into a Pennsylvania field on 9/11.

“A middle-aged nonentity, a political failure outstripped by history – by the millions of Arabs demanding freedom and democracy in the Middle East – died in Pakistan yesterday. And then the world went mad.”
— Robert Fisk, the only Western journalist to have met and interviewed Osama Bin Laden

“Got Bin Laden AND interrupted Celebrity Apprentice? Win for Obama all around.”
— TV host Jimmy Fallon on Twitter

“Forgive me, but I don’t want to watch uncorked champagne spill onto hallowed ground where thousands were murdered in cold blood.
And I don’t want to see any ugly blood stained sheets as proof of death or justice.
Nor do I want to think about bullet-ridden corpses being dumped into the sea.
And it breaks my heart to witness young Americans cheer any death — even the death of a horrible, evil, murderous person — like it is some raucous tailgate party on a college campus.
Why are we not somber?
Where is the deeper, more meaningful reflection?….”
—Kristen Breitweister, 9/11 widow and activist, in her Huffington Post article “Today is not a day of celebration for me”.


Photo Credit

Osama Bin-Laden

“Celebrating Bin Laden’s death”

“Watching TV news of Bin Laden’s death”

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