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Posts tagged ‘Jihad’

Confession: Why the death of OBL does not bring me joy

Osama Bin Laden was reportedly killed. I’m reading on twitter that Americans in Washington DC are singing the national anthem outside the White House. There’s a festive mood in the country and Muslim tweets are also celebratory. For some reason I did not feel the instant relief others are feeling. For one, Bin Laden became irrelevant after the Egyptian Revolution. Even so, he resided in my memory not as a villain nor as a hero. OBL was a symbol for Militant Jihad against Western Might and despite (and because of) the innocent lives lost on both sides, the fight itself is a fair one. The dialectic between Western Might and Militant Jihad, in my mind is a rational one, so to speak. No one celebrates the expected result of a rational process. Laughter and tears emerge from the tickle and surprise of the unexpected. I am able to understand, and sympathize with Western Might and Militant Jihad, and condemn them both, and thus I was able to capture the rational relationship. Thus I do not laugh or shed a tear of joy.

On the other hand, I celebrated the success of the Egyptian Revolution because I was not able to understand and sympathize with Mubarak. In other words, I did not encompass the dialectic between Mubarak and the Egyptian People the way I do between Western Might and Militant Jihad, for in the case of Jan25, I was on one side and not on the other. Thus the process was not rational… I did not encompass it… I was a participant… and I was thrilled. So today I do not laugh, and I do not shed a tear of joy. Rather, if anything, I shed a tear of pain. I stand at a distance watching two sides on a chess table. I see the fingers of the Divine advance one side, and then the other … knock one piece with the other, and then another. Yet each piece, whether on the side of the “West” or the “Muslim Ummah” is tied by a nerve to my heart. Each move brings pain, because I can see it all from afar… yet it hits home.

To be a piece on the chess table is bliss. For you are on one side and have the luxury of joy and sorrow. To be a spectator is a curse I cherish, for the loss is doubled, and the brilliance of Divine Wisdom is manifest. I will always be defeated watching, and God will be the Ever-Victorious. My only hope for a genuine sense of personal victory is that the relationship ceases to be a chess-match, and that both sides, with guidance of the Divine, start building a house of cards, however temporary it is destined to be. Amen.

Waleed Naïf (a pseudonym) is an essayist, poet and author of Ground Zero Mosque: The Confessions of a Western-Middle-Eastern Muslim (February, 2011).