On Cheering Death


Hooray. It is almost never right to celebrate a death. Almost.

I think I'll stop noting that Bin Laden was a killer of Muslims. I feel like Giuliani lecturing Harlem on  "black on black" crime. Muslim is a big word, and part of the problem with the last ten years has been the unwillingness to acknowledge that fact. What actually sticks with me is Bin Laden killed mass quantities of human beings with almost regard for distinctions. It's not that he killed Muslims. It's that he didn't much care who he killed.

Osama Bin Laden The body-count, in number and means, is spectacular--I think Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who video-taped himself beheading human beings. I think about the hundreds of people killed in the bombing of al-Askaria Mosque, with the apparent hope of fomenting a Civil War. I think about the deaths in Nairobi, and bombing of night-clubs in Bali. It really is bigger than 9/11.


Faced with that level of callous disregard for life, I find it a little difficult to lecture 25-year olds who came of age during this time on their varied reactions. Americans are humans too.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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