Sorrow and Joy
Elie Wiesel, Fatima Bhutto, Bernard-Henri Levy, and Andrew Sullivan reflect on the end of Osama Bin Laden.
A Death Deserved
By Elie Wiesel
Pictures of Americans celebrating and rejoicing on the streets of New York and Washington, D.C., were shown all over the world. They were people who felt compelled to demonstrate their satisfaction that the man they considered their No. 1 enemy was finally dead.
Normally, I would respond to such scenes with deep apprehension. The execution of a human being--any human being--should never be an event to be celebrated. Death--anyone's--must be taken seriously, thoughtfully.
This time is different. As we listened to President Obama report to the nation and the world the news of bin Laden's capture and death, I, too, shared in the collective response of so many Americans: "He got what he deserved." He committed too many crimes, too many murders-- he caused too much suffering--for his death to arouse pity or sadness. By his actions, he gave up any right to human compassion.
Sadly, he was not the only one put at risk by the American operation. There were others. Among them, children. And children are never guilty. Still, it was bin Laden himself who placed them in harm's way.
War is never just. In bin Laden's case, there is no doubting his responsibility for countless attacks. Nor do we know what horrendous acts he may still have been planning. And so it is understandable that we respond to his undoing with a certain amount of satisfaction.
Most important, we are grateful to our president for reconfirming our faith in the nation's leadership and the ability of our men in and out of uniform to restore some semblance of order, however fragile. The Book of Ecclesiastes says it most clearly: there is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice. And so, let us rejoice and hope that this will be a time of rededication to the ideals of peace, cooperation, and mutual respect among nations, all concepts that bin Laden sought vainly to destroy.
Wiesel is a writer and Nobel laureate.
By Fatima Bhutto
On May 2, Pakistan's commercial capital, Karachi, was on fire. Fourteen cars, buses, and trucks were set ablaze, gunfire broke out in the busy Malir neighborhood, and across various parts of the city people were told to stay at home. The violence had nothing to do with the death of Osama bin Laden the day before, but with the murder in the city of a former member of Parliament. Pakistan's trials don't start and don't end with Osama. The country is gripped by bloodletting-Baloch dissidents have disappeared by the thousands (a sinister byproduct of our government's engagement in the war on terror); the price of basic foodstuffs has skyrocketed as government industrialists and feudal landowners hoard basics like sugar and set the price of wheat far above international prices; and the nation has begun to descend into sectarian and ethnic violence not seen since the mid-1990s. Maybe it's not peculiar that government spokesmen claim to know nothing about Osama's killing, since they never seem to have any idea what's happening in their country at all.
Bhutto is a writer living in Karachi.
By Bernard-Henri Levy
I've been saying it since the publication of my investigation into the death of Daniel Pearl, and I will repeat it now: Pakistan, far more than North Korea, Iran, or Syria, is the most dangerous country in the world. …