Monday, May 2, 2011

So now he's dead

So now he's dead. I've been thinking about it all day, but I haven't talked to very many people about it, except in two of my classes this morning.

It brings back all the emotions I felt on that day - that great blue-sky day - September 11, 2001. The feelings of shock, and fear, and grief, and then anger. The realization that we had been attacked. And then the days and weeks and months and years afterward. The having to listen to fools who blamed the United States. Anger burning in me. The feeling of "and you go your way, and I go my way." (That's what Dumbledore said when Fudge wouldn't believe him that Voldemort had come back - I know it's ridiculous to mention the Harry Potter books in this connection, but it captured how I felt). I supported going into Afghanistan, and screamed at a friend of mine who thought that this was a law-enforcement problem, and that Muslim nations should take care of bin Laden.

Supporting the war in Iraq, when hardly any of my friends did. I even thought of voting for George Bush in 2004, until the Abu Ghraib revelations early in that year.

It just brings back all of the rotten, twisted up, angry, grief-ridden feelings of that "low, dishonest decade," the 2000s. W. H. Auden's poem, September 1, 1939:
I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.
I don't know if bin Laden's death will change anything materially - how could we know yet? It feels to me as if his death might be part of a spiritual cleansing. He was an evil man, who did evil, knowingly, and he deserved to die.

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