It is with sadness, today, that I greet the same news that, according to journalists, the rest of the so-called free world is celebrating, the death of Osama bin Laden.
I am fully human. One death can never make up for another death. Death, any death, brings with it loss to the world and sorrow to one or more people. Sally Sara said today "One bullet answers another bullet", pointing out by implication that all acts of warfare no matter how "justified" by previous events, only brings more conflict and misery. Killing people never works - as Gandhi once said, you cannot expect peace if you prepare for war.
If we have no weaponry anywhere and no standing armies - official or unofficial - at all, then all quarrels will get resolved with sticks and stones, and hand-to-hand combat. It is much harder to kill someone if you have to use your own muscles, meet their eyes close-up and face the fact of their excrement and/or spilling intestines than if you can sit inside a machine and press one button or even more so, if you can sit in a building many kilometres away and press a button. It is also much harder to kill thousands of people in an instant with a single stick in a single hand, than it is with a thermonuclear weapon that can be triggered by a single person.
Disarm everybody immediately, national armies and terrorist groups alike, and war will disappear, degenerating to much less deadly person-to-person skirmishes. Hell, perhaps we'll even be able to decide which group "wins" by using team sports as symbolic battles, with no bloodshed at all.
And you have to wonder why so many Third World countries act as nesting-sites for terrorist organisations in the first place. When I was a child and a teenager, the PLO, the defensive forces of the Palestinians, were referred to nightly on the News as "terrorists". More recently, they were referred to as "Freedom Fighters" by the very same journalistic organisations. More recently still, they have faded from journalistic scrutiny in favour of the Afghans. It's all a matter of perspective - if you identify with a body of struggling people, then they are freedom fighters, whilst if you identify with their oppressors they are terrorists.
Bin Laden is one of the bad guys, they all tell me. I live in a wealthy First World country, one that is embarrassingly subservient to America mostly because of a succession of spineless heads of government rather than from any need to be subservient, but nonetheless, we perceive ourselves as being one of the stronger countries, informally subject to America's whims. We are nobody's victim.
We are certainly not a Third World country, struggling under crippling debt caused by past borrowing from the International Monetary Fund, amounting to such a burden on every individual citizen of the country that their entire lifetime earnings and the lifetime earnings of every child, grandchild and great-grandchild will not be enough to pay back the present debts of their countries, let alone any future debts.
We are not a Third World country where, due to taxation to make payments on these debts, climate change and just plain famine, nine out of ten people do not eat even every second day, and because of hunger do not have the physical strength to cultivate crops even if they had the money to buy seed.
We are not a Third World country to whom international aid is offered and accepted, where the urban and probably richer citizens get first pick of any food or medical aid and a small percentage of it trickles through to grassroots communities, and where the politicians receive any financial aid and make it disappear into obscenely luxurious mansions, stables full of cars and overseas bank accounts for themselves and their closest friends while building one or more show-schools for journalists to photograph.
So what would we know of human misery? What would we know of the urgency to have children and grandchildren so that when we are too old to fend for ourselves in countries without pension schemes there will be someone who cares enough to allow us to live in a corner of their homes and feed us the odd morsel of food instead of being alone to starve on the streets, yet cannot keep those same necessary children alive through their childhoods because of child-starvation, disease outbreaks or even the forcible recruiting of child-soldiers, whose life-expectancy is necessarily limited.
The International Monetary Fund has forty or fifty member-countries, including many of the poorer Third World Countries. Oppressed by the world financial system, they cannot withdraw from it. At the same time as it has so many supposedly equal members, it effectively has a ruling clique of perhaps half a dozen main countries "running" it, at least in the sense that when they speak, everyone else sits up and takes notice. The United States is one of those, and the World Trade Center (sic.) was a potent symbol of American wealth and fiscal power over the rest of the world.
And the world's poorest nations are all aware of this. How could they not be?
If you live in a region where 1,000 people die daily of starvation and unmedicated disease, that's a loss of 365,000 people in a year, 3,650,000 people in ten years, decade after decade. If this goes on in your country or your little group of small, closely related countries for forty or fifty years, as a thinking member of your population you would start to get a little desperate. Politics doesn't work. Negotiations don't work. Art and photography, though affecting sensitive people in wealthier countries, doesn't change your lot, either. Even trying to find some route, any route to a First World country in order not to die and watch your children dying, will get you locked up. What else can you do?
If you have reached the absolute end of your tether as an individual in a nation that has reached the absolute end of its tether and has no resources left, perhaps drawing attention to your countrymen's desperation is worth a symbolic act. And the felling of two towers that symbolise the heavy hand of western financial policy with only 3,000 or 4,000 deaths - fewer people than you lose to death-by-poverty in a week, is a small symbolic gesture that just might draw the attention of a world which has turned its back on you.
Rest in peace, old man. You failed, but at least you tried, even if the methods you used were condemned.