There’s only been one movie in my life where after the credits rolled, the entire packed audience just sat there in silence. The emotion and impact of the movie so gripping that it took a few minutes to pull the audience out of the story.

That movie was Dead Man Walking, starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. The movie is centred around Penn’s character on death row for rape and murder. It touches on universal themes that this week we are all considering, such as revenge and redemption, crime and punishment, fear and salvation.

As one reviewer wrote at the time, “Dead Man Walking could easily be manipulative or exploitative, but it’s neither. Instead, this is hard-hitting drama that neither accepts nor offers quarter. As one recognizes that there are no clear-cut answers.”

The death this week of Osama Bin Laden, the world’s ‘most wanted mass murderer’ has divided millions around the world on exactly this subject.

Do we celebrate our revenge, and our so called ‘justice’, or is an eye for eye setting us up for further conflict, more deaths, and are we essentially playing god?

When I started watching Dead Man Walking I was fairly sure that I wanted Sean Penn’s character dead.

I even thought many years ago that if anyone raped or murder someone I loved, I would certainly take revenge into my hands, and would willingly suffer the consequences of jail as a result.

By the end of the movie, I wasn’t so sure I had this right. I wasn’t sure that in any situation that another person’s death, no matter what the circumstances of their acts, was going to bring peace to myself, or what any god or higher source would support.

And that’s how I feel this week.

Watching American’s celebrating and rejoicing outside the White House after the announcement, whilst I can empathize that the victims and families of September 11 must crave healing of the highest order, is this act of more violence firstly going to stop further deaths, and is it showing ‘our team’ as being the better people?

If we are not permitted to kill another human in our own country, those that have raped and slaughtered our own loved ones, then why is this the answer on a global level?

How can world leaders tell us that the murder of Osama Bin Laden is going to bring peace and justice when we are now being advised that we are no longer safe to travel to countries like Pakistan?

How will this effect from this point on such feel-good events like a Royal Wedding or the 2012 London Olympic Games?

What should be universal moments of joy will once again be overshadowed by the chance that ‘evil’ will strike us down.

Understanding that there are bad eggs in all walks of life, races and creeds, spare a thought for the Muslim community living in here and abroad when once again, a small faction of murderers claiming to share their religion, are going to be generalized and further alienated by this ‘us versus them’ slanted coverage?

If you think that we’re not being brainwashed with generalizations that make us all ignorant, you only have to watch Fox News, in particularly Bill O-Reilly who revels in comments such as “There is a Muslim problem, because you know what happened when it was announced Bin Laden was dead? They were silent. If there wasn’t a Muslim problem, they would have called us to congratulate us! They didn’t.”

They, supposedly being all Muslims.

Could their silence be considered having dignity? Are we very sure we’re not part of an ego war on terror, rather than one aimed at what’s right?

I for one cannot rejoice when it’s clear, no one has won. And the propaganda that goes with this war on terror is not left to the Islamic fanatics; we too have our own messages of hate.

An eye for eye. And so is goes on.


  1. Amber, what bothered me about the whole thing was the gleam in Obama’s eyes as he gloated over the death of another human being, because he knows it will help him get re-elected as President for another term.

    How many more people are still going to die in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now possibly Syria, under the the watch of Mr. Obama?

    • I agree I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The whole thing is sick, and the reaction of people like Obama, and so many others is just terrifying. It’s like I can see right through them. Sounds like you can too. What is happening to the world we live in???? So terribly sad

  2. “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” i would have preferred so much if Osama got a hearing then got stuck in jailto rot in hell sorry i understand what this blog is saying and i am a compassionate person but Osamas organization killed several members of my family and some of my friends on that day in september i do not like the man but everyone has the right to a trial dont matter race color or creed or even religion we all have basic human rights even if u stole someone elses

    • I agree. In fact, we might have learnt something from him (as sick as he was) which could have helped us understand the inner workings of a terrorist. We need to know what makes them hate the west so badly. Nothing can be healed without communication. This doesn’t mean he was going to be treated any differently to another mass murderer on trial, nor can we ever expect not to hate the human that he was, but through having non terrorist related serial killers on trial at least we have learnt some patterns of behaviour and what makes them tick. So then, we can look out for strange behaviour from people and know what the warning signs are. We’re no closer to understanding these fanatics like Osama than before. And we’ve kicked a hornets nest and innocent people will now die because of it. And as far as I”m concerned, blood will also be on the hands of the American goverment and all those backslappers because of it.

  3. I can understand were you are coming from Amber where you point out the fact we are all being brainwashed with the ideals of ‘Us vrs Them’ and the social norm of celebrating someone’s untimely death at the hands of a well trained warrior. I for one celebrate life, that life will go on regardless but may be a tad safer for the Coalition soldiers on those countries. But there is a part of me that wants to get up and yell that he got his just desserts, because all I am seeing and hearing on the news is ‘Osama bin Laden is dead’ and the classic “He Is Dead”.

    Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that multiculturalism doesn’t work, but what about just accepting people as they are? and how are we to do that when we are told that it is OK to celebrate a death which was seen by his young daughter?
    It is an ideal more than an actual movement, and I wanted him dead just as much as anyone, but how can we serve justice if we allow a Super Power of the modern world to kill publicly someone who deserved to be stood on trail and to teach us why he hated us so much?

    I’m sorry for the rant and the rave but people have lost sight of the light, that we have a system in place to deal with someone like him, and that system may be flawed but if we start to let it go by us, to let us accept an assassination as the norm then we all loose.

    Why can’t we just smile at one another, say hello, how are you today and keep walking? That’s what I do and I get along nicely with everyone, maybe our Governments should pay more attention to the people that put them in their respected seats =)

  4. I found this on Facebook – it’s an altered version of a Martin Luther King quote and it sums up how I feel about it.

    “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

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