On Cheering Death

More

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.
Jump to comments
Presented by

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.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is the Greatest Story Ever Told?

A panel of storytellers share their favorite tales, from the Bible to Charlotte's Web.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Global

From This Author

Just In