Sunday, May 8, 2011

Osama Bin Laden dying and my generation

Osama Bin Laden is dead. I doubt that is news to you. And if that is news to you, than thank you for living under a rock (like Spongebob's friend Patrick) and reading only my blog. But for the 7 billion other people in the world, this news is a week old. And a week in internet time is a millennia. Now I have no doubt that many of you two-finger-typing older people reading this on the internet genuinely care about this news. Bin Laden was a mad man that was on the loose for ten years longer than he should of been. The fact that nobody believed the news when it first broke is proof enough that we never believed we would ever find him, much less kill him. He is dead though. And for my generation that's like killing the boogieman. But better, because the boogieman doesn't blow up a building in Manhattan.

Every picture on here is going to be from

Now I try and stay away from politics on my blog, but this is too big to ignore. I found the news out on Facebook of all places. I was on someone's laptop and saw a status about it. Now, being the shrewd individual I am, I didn't believe it. Never trust news on Facebook (side note: how did so many people fall for the Bin-Laden-death-video virus? My newsfeed was full of gullible people). If you believed every status you've read then Kel Mitchell (from Kenan & Kel) has died nine times over. But then more statuses came. Google searches didn't reveal anything at first but after a few reloads, the news finally came. This maybe a testament to the speed of word of mouth, but nevertheless it was confirmed for me. And the reaction was massive.

Statuses started going nuts. People in my dorm started going nuts. Eventually, a crowd of college students started building up and going nuts. Through a Facebook event request, around 200 kids started marching around campus. Yes there were noise complaints but that wasn't the point. The college kids gathered with each other, not because anybody told them to, but because they felt they needed to. I spent my Sunday night circling the campus, watching mobs of fellow students marching and chanting. It was a celebration. And best of all, it was completely impromptu. It just grew, to the point where the campus security could only sit back and watch. This didn't just happen on my campus either but all over the nation. You see, it wasn't a riot. It was a sigh of relief ten years in the making.

We were the generation that grew up watching the World Trade Center collapse. It was horrible for everyone but to grow up seeing that made it personal to us. I remember when it happened, I was in middle school. The principal made an announcement that morning not to turn on the news or go on the computers because the internet and cable were out (as kids we believed everything on the loudspeaker). We weren't even allowed outside for recess. Then when I got home I saw my older sister watching the news. When she told me I could hardly believer her. Like Bin Laden's death, it didn't seem possible. It was too big of an idea to comprehend.

That day would be the catalyst for all foreign policy made since and has affected everyone's lives. Really, news of Bin Laden's death is our Berlin Wall moment. The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolized the end of a terror that engulfed the lives of a whole generation. But at the end of the day, destroying that wall did not mean the end of communism. There was still a lot of work to be done. The Berlin Wall was, at the end of the day, just a wall just as Bin Laden was just a man. And just like with the wall, there is still a lot of work to be done. Both events however defined a fear for a whole generation.

I'm not naive. I realize that killing one man does not change the world. But with that being said, Bin Laden's death was a symbol. Just like the Berlin Wall, it was a symbol for triumph in this more cynical world. And when you're dealing with a war against an abstract idea like terror, symbolic victories may be the best kind. Be warned, whoever takes Bin Laden's place as a leader in terrorism may try to make a name for themselves soon. But for now lets enjoy this victory. We've waited long enough for it. My generation grew up being constantly reminded of our time's great tragedy. Well that chapter can, for the most part, be closed.

Thanks to the internet, everyone can express themselves over the news. Then again that also means that conspiracy theorist have an even bigger pedestal to act crazy. While it's completely shady that he's been buried already, those people need to learn to not be so cynical. My personal favorite is the meme. It's a style that no other age group really has but mine. And lately the interwebs have been flooding with one-off jokes about Bin Laden's death. People our age passionate about such an event. Patriotic without having to be told to be patriotic. Making captions in bold, white font isn't just a cheap joke. It's how we get our revenge. Now, that we finally realize he is gone and no longer in fear, we can make fun of him without remorse. It's the American way.

So where were you when you heard Bin Laden is dead?

1 comment:

  1. There is actually a comic strip in my newspaper (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) dismissing bin Laden's death as an invention to rally support for democrats. Its name is Prickly City, it is written by a republican, and everything about it is terrible. I cannot believe this strip is still going and its creator living outside of a mental institution.

    But since I'm probably the only person under 80 who reads any newspaper strip but Get Fuzzy, it's all right. No one my age will care about this, and that's what counts.