Holocaust Remembrance Day and Osama bin Laden

I passed a momentous day in silence. Monday was Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah in Hebrew). It was also the day America celebrated the death of Osama bin Laden.

Both are fitting reminders that there is such a thing as evil, that human beings can still do horrific things to other human beings, that a true conscience can never rest.

It was a day foremost of sadness. Sadness that we are still here. Sadness that we are still a species who wantonly kill our own, who slaughter for politics and power.

Genocide on the scale of the Holocaust may be truly past — but the genocidal impulse is shamefully alive in the human breast.

The death of Osama bin Laden is closure. Nothing more, nothing less. The man orchestrated a great evil. He did so, moreover, with perverted distortion of a great religion. He proudly killed innocents, and he sought to kill the humanity of Islam, to conscript the religion into a program of hatred, hostility and murder.

He failed to convert Islam into Islamism — but we still fight because his ideology of murderous hatred did not die with him. The horror of 9-11 now becomes an ever so slightly more bearable thing because its mastermind is dead. But evil is not dead.

If evil could die, it would have died when the light shone on the death camps after World War II. It did not.

That is why we must always remember.

UPDATE (May 9, 2011): To the proposition that evil did not die with the death of Osama bin Laden, Charles Krauthammer fittingly adds that “Evil does not die of natural causes.”


6 Responses to Holocaust Remembrance Day and Osama bin Laden

  1. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Throughout the day yesterday, listening to interviews with Americans, one interesting and heartening thing kept emerging – people weren’t “celebrating” the death of Bin Laden. They didn’t want to. There was relief, of course, but the majority of people couldn’t express happiness about a tryant’s death. The evil inherent in Bin Laden didn’t become part of who we became after 9/11. For that, I see much hope in humanity.

  2. Daniel Macdowell says:

    Nicely said.

    It has been a very emotionally mixed day for Israelis. On one hand, it was one out of the two saddest days of the year for us (the other one is the memorial day for the soldiers), and on the other hand we woke up with these great news.

    We all responded to the news of the death of Bin ladin with the same saying :”Col celev ba yomo”. Which means in free translation: Every dog has it’s day coming…

  3. Daniel Macdowell says:

    Or maybe a better translation would be: Every dog’s day comes…

    • Welcome my wonderful son. And thank you for the Israeli perspective.

  4. David Binet says:

    Agreed. Sadly there is probably some twisted lieutenant ready to continue Bin laden’s mission.

  5. Terrance H. says:


    Perusing WordPress, it seems as though I’m the only right-winger who believes Obama should NOT release the photographs of bin Laden dead? I would like to know where you stand, and why.


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