The first thoughts in my mind is that the family of victims of 9/11 may finally get some deserved closure. And then the thought of what may have happened if evil didn’t exist, if there was no need to blow up the US embassies in Nairobi, or the WTC in 1993, or the twin towers in 2001. I still remember where I was then – in the dormitories of the University campus in Ibadan – as friends scurried to bring me to the television. It was evening in Ibadan and CNN was breaking the news, along with footage, of planes hitting the world trade centre.
What would have happened if a rich Saudi son had used his strength, industry, leadership and organizational style to a more productive use, say, trade. Or entertainment. Or even just a normal spiritual or educational leadership. How different would the world have been? There is nothing extraordinary about living in caves. Men have done it for centuries. The idea intrigues, even. A set of men with deeply held beliefs living out of the box of their privileged upbringing in search of spiritual, or mainly normadic, experience. I know I would have loved to go on one of such expedition.
How did violence against innocent people on a large scale even become such a worthwhile venture? And how did the man supposedly smart enough to have evaded capture all this while not have been smart enough to see the big picture: that the world is bigger than the little thoughts in the mind of a handful of hateful nomads riding in the desert. As slowly as the wheel of justice grinds, it always catches up in the end, somehow. His death is not a victory for America as it is a victory for humanity, and justice for all. It is perhaps also a call to introspection, although the cynic in me still nags on the futility of such news as this – as significant as it is – to eradicate evil on the surface of the earth. I’m glad he got what he had coming to him, Osama. Can’t we all now just get along?