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May 20, 2011

Pakistani protestors shout slogans against the US President Barack Obama for eroding Pakistan’s sovereignty with its operation to eliminate Osama bin Laden, during a protest in Multan on May 6, 2011. Hundreds of Pakistanis took to the streets on May 6, cheering Osama bin Laden and shouting ‘death to America’ to condemn a unilateral US raid on their soil that killed the Al-Qaeda chief. Photo by S S MIRZA/AFP/Getty Images)

People gather in Times Square may 2, 2011 shortly after the announcement from the President Obama announced that Al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden was dead and the United States has his body. Bin Laden was killed in a mansion close to Islamabad. Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/ AFP/Getty Images)

Students’ reactions vary in wake of Al Qaeda leader’s death Some confessed indifference, others relief or caution. Reactions to cheering crowds disturb some. By Viraj Bindra At approximately 10:40 in the morning on May 2, 2011, the Internet exploded with tweets, facebook statuses, and news updates all containing one name: Osama Bin Laden. The death of the Al Qaeda leader came as a result of United States’ military action authorized by President Obama, who subsequently made an announcement of the operation once he was satisfied that the body had been identified with certainty. As groups of Americans began loud cheering in the streets at places such as the White House and Ground Zero, students in our school all reacted in different ways. Some were perfectly ambivalent. “I didn’t care” junior Ishan Krishan said. “It didn’t impact my life in any way” Others were positively exuberant. “It was awesome” sophomore Alex Berenger said, “A lot of people had been waiting a long time for this day, and so they were all really happy to see the end of the leader of such a terrifying terrorist group.” This cathartic experience was prominent throughout social media forums at the time. Facebook statuses included “10 years later, 2977 souls finally avenged” and “People outside the White House are cheering ‘USA! USA!’ haha.” Others simply announcing Osama’s death were met by witty, relieved comments such as “Thank goodness, now I can fly again.” This fervor, however, soon died down. “Initially, I was really happy” said sophomore Rohan Bharvani. “But when I saw people celebrating

and cheering, that felt wrong. It’s hypocritical for those people to celebrate death, even the death of someone like Osama.” David Sirota, left-wing opinion columnist for articulated this view in an online article criticizing the American response to Bin Laden’s death.

“This is bin Laden’s lamentable victory” Sirota said. “He has changed America’s psyche from one that saw violence as a regrettable-if-sometimes-necessary act into one that finds orgasmic euphoria in news of bloodshed. In other words, he’s helped drag us down into his sick nihilism by making us like too many other bellicose societies in history -- the ones that aggressively cheer on killing, as long as it is the Bad Guy that is being killed.” Overall, students seem to be adopting a more longterm outlook on recent events. “I don’t really feel safer in general” senior Gainya St. Clair said. “Unprovoked violence will still keep happening, especially now that Osama’s supporters will be angry. Politically, I think this might end up helping Obama in his campaign, but only because of shortsighted swing votes.” This question of the effect Bin Laden’s death might have on Obama’s re-election has become a hot topic in the American media, and some students seem to think that the incident will entice the public to vote Obama. “Yes, I think people will be more inclined to vote for Obama now,” Bharvani said. “But wrongfully so. One incident shouldn’t define a presidency.” Others thought that the President’s actions did not merit credit. “Obama had nothing to do with it” Krishan said. “The United States has been trying to get Bin Laden for ten years now. Obama did nothing on his own, and I don’t think that he’ll be re-elected just because of this.” Berenger said when questioned about the impact of Osama’s death, “Let’s just wait and see.”

May 20, 2011  
May 20, 2011  

The Eye volume 30, number 6