Osama Bin Laden is dead, shot down in a mansion, his escape money sewn into his clothes. I don’t need to see pictures to believe it; I’ve warped too many realities in Photoshop to believe anything I see in print, TV or on film.
I find it hard to rejoice. Instead of celebrating the end of Al Qaeda, I remember the legend of the Hydra, a many-headed monster who grew back two for every one cut off. Al Qaeda had already been losing ground, believers and support. Bin Laden’s death is only the epilog to that story. There will be others.
The face and nature of whatever we consider to be “the enemy” has already changed in the last ten years and we have to keep up. This isn’t a time to relax and “spike the ball.” The world is changing and what so many see as the Last Days are the growing pains of a new world, one we can only hope is more forgiving and benign than the old. Bin Laden, Hussein, Mubarak, all the dead and deposed bullies of the last century have company, others still in place and growing more desperate to hold onto their embattled borders. There will be more Bin Ladens before it is over, hate-filled men holding onto the last shreds of the old order.
I believe that we are coming to an end time, but not a biblical apocalypse. I see it as more of a spiritual purge; the masses finally connected enough worldwide to see the big picture and how they fit into it. Mankind has left a long hard puberty to enter a rocky adolescence, moody, self-centered, pissed at having to do the work it takes to survive. I would like to think we’re growing up as a species, that we‘ll survive long enough to find ways to spread the wealth of this world to all its inhabitants. Not in a socialist or communist way, systems that fell prey to the same flaw as capitalism -- the greed of those in charge. I’d like to think that one day we’ll care for the sick and aged because it’s right, not for profit. That we’ll feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless out of love for our fellows, not out of a desire to benefit later in an abstract afterlife, or for awards, but because we should.
In the meantime, I will keep writing metaphorical horror stories that try to scare people, in a world capable of creating such monsters as Bin Laden. Monsters that drive us to go to such lengths to stop him that they make us question our very own humanity, that change us until we feel that we can’t trust even our own eyes or leaders anymore.
It isn’t easy.