Complicated: In Your Words

The following are excerpts from some of your comments yesterday (every one of them was amazing, thank you) which I wanted to post, here, for those who didn't get a chance to read them. Thank you all for participating in such a respectful discussion in the comments, yesterday. As usual, you made me feel like I'm part of a tribe of like-minded humans. You also challenged my thinking and made me appreciative that we live in a world where we can openly express our fears and doubts. And hope. I'm beyond lucky to share this space with such compassionate people. Thank you for being.

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Part of me rejoices for the troops who are fighting (my stepson-in-law included), part of me is sad because this was some mother's son, part of me cannot bring myself to rejoice over any death, and the rest of me is just muddled. I think it is okay to be stuck in this gray area. As long as we agree to keep thinking, pondering, wondering, and learning. Oh...and questioning. That is the most important. - Jen

Under no circumstances is death a reason for celebration; relief, yes. But celebrating seems so wrong in so many ways. - NodtoStyle

Thomas Beller put it best on his twitter, I think. "No cheering mobs, or anyone, on Manhattan's Upper West. Went to Strawberry Fields for some reason, stood on 'Imagine.' Peered at tulips." -Hayley

We can celebrate the lives that were lost or the intelligence and military efforts put into the project...but seeing people draping big American flags on their cars and screaming elatedly about death? That makes me uneasy. - Anonymous

My brother is a Navy SEAL and I love him and I'm so proud of him but it's always been difficult for me to know how to feel about what his job entails. It helps to remember that it's OK to feel conflicted... that every story has it's many sides. My brother is warrior as well as a very caring person. Now when I get the chance to talk to him, I'll have some perspective on what I've been mulling over and maybe I'll find the words to fuel a meaningful conversation -- which is what it's all about. - MB

I don't feel like violence can bring peace. And in this case it doesn't even bring peace of mind. - sara no h

For my children I want a world in which things are ideal, where I can say killing is always 110% wrong, because it is. He was a twisted, awful man whose heart had hardened long ago.... I hate how he and his ilk have loosened more hate and destruction in our world... But I refuse to let situations make me hate other people...Though I can certainly empathize with the rejoicers I could never feel joy in killing. I feel sadness, a seriousness, a terribly painful door closing but not jubilation. And yet when I try to explain to my pure hearted daughter... words fail. -Loodles

If anything his death assured the American people that we are doing the right thing. That our plan is working. That war is the way to go. And I am not sure that I can stand behind that... As far as explaining this to my child? I haven't event began. -Cassie Boorn

I believe more than anything that now is a time to pray for peace. - Heather

On NPR this morning, there was a college student from New York city, brought to tears, because he felt like this meant we never gave up on those who lost their lives. And this was a time to celebrate them. And to celebrate the end of a period where a horrible, mean, ill-informed spec of a human had any control over anything. - Dinner Party Central

In today's world I am adamantly anti-grave dancing. There are people all over the world who will see our act of vengeance as an act of war and hatred will continue to be perpetuated. It does bring relief, but it was not an act of peace by any means. - Katiedidtoo.

"A true warrior never rejoices in the killing of his enemy..." (TAO saying) - Cynthia

I want the next ten years to be filled with hope instead of fear. That's the only thing I hope comes out of it. - Kate

I can't shake the feeling that hate begets hate, but similarly can't stop thinking that there was a collective sigh heard round the world. I hope that we are healing. I hope that we are moving forward. - Amelia Walton

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that" -Martin Luther King, Jr - (many of you posted this quote from MLK. Thank you. Exactly.)

EDITED TO ADD: The above MLK quote isn't an accurate MLK quote. (Thanks for the heads up, Melody & Nannette) More on that, here.

18 comments:

Melody | 10:29 AM

Strangely, that last quote is actually not from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Although it still sums things up nicely.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/out-of-osamas-death-a-fake-quotation-is-born/238220/

Becky | 10:37 AM

Clearly I am late to the party with this one, and I am not normally a bible quoter, but I thought this was fitting:

"I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live." Ezekiel 33:11

Thought I don't believe Bin Laden had change within him, I have a hard time celebrating his death. relief, .I can understand. My oldest is 3.5 and I didn't want him seeing all the crazy news coverage when I feel he's too young to really grasp any of it, so it's not really a discussion here right now

Nannette Spencer | 10:37 AM

Not to take away from the impact of this because, it moved me beyond words. But I must share that the MLK "quote" is not correct. It's a beautiful sentiment but not one said by MLK.

http://the20.nbcnewyork.com/post/5158721867/i-mourn-the-loss-of-thousands-of-precious-lives

Lindsay Schultz @sayschu | 10:38 AM

I just wanted to let you know it's not an accurate MLK quote.

Anonymous | 10:46 AM

I am puzzled at how this brings relief...someone will just take over for Bin Laden and kill more people. Same shit, different person if you will.

Frannie74 | 11:03 AM

I've loved reading your views on this. Archer is an amazing little man and I love the way you are raising them. I know there has been a lot going on in the world but I for one miss seeing the weekly baby belly pictures.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 11:07 AM

Tomorrow, Frannie. Everything's a few days behind this week. xo

Thank you, Melody, Nannette, Lindsay for fact-check. Fascinating that a non-quote became a quote so fast and furiously! Lovely sentiment regardless but wow.

And thanks for your comment, Becky. I love that.

Cassie | 11:08 AM

Thank you Rebecca for sharing my comment. Such a great conversation to have. The fact that we can have these discussions is why I love the internet!

Erin | 11:16 AM

Thank you so much for posting those comments- I feel no joy over someone's death, no matter how they lived.

Rebecca | 11:29 AM

Thanks for being a voice of reason. Initially I was relieved, then conflicted, and then realized this will more than likely result in a retaliation. Then I remembered that my family and I will be flying in and out of DC not once, but twice over the next few weeks. We also have next to zero security on our metro. Now I'm just fucking scared. I'm not celebrating this at all because, like you and Archer, I don't believe in "bad guys." I'm also waiting for the other shoe to drop, somewhere in my neighborhood.

Ray | 12:22 PM

My cousin posted that "not-MLK" quote in her Facebook as well. It's a beautiful quote.

Sydney | 12:29 PM

Yes, I have read the details about the quotation, it was Martin Luther King, aside from the first sentence - which was added by Jessica Dovey. A very smart lady indeed!

Miranda | 12:40 PM

Actually, everything besides the first line IS a MLK quote. It was published in a book of his sermons. You can see the quote here: http://books.google.com/books?id=errxX4tzSMcC&pg=PA53#v=onepage&q&f=false and there was an update to the article you updated with here: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/anatomy-of-a-fake-quotation/238257/

I have to think Dr. King would have approved of the additional line.

Gabie | 12:59 PM

Clearly my opinion on all of this is not the popular one, but I'll state it nonetheless. I have always one of those "much older than your age" or "you have an old soul" girls and as I've gotten older(still only 29) my ability to read people has intensified. I can sort of see through people, through their ugly and through their beauty. I am very, very liberal, but for that I absolutely believe some people do not deserve to live. Some people are so filled with hate and are so completely mind fucked that I think no amount of love or support or help will change them and the world would be a better place without them.

Maria Wells | 1:57 PM

Thank you for posting that so many people are feeling the same way. I was raised by a very, very, very (very) conservative family, who were probably some of those celebrating and hiding behind an American Flag in their gravedancing.

I am much more liberal, and do not want my son raised in a world where killing is the answer. Yes, I understand that this man single-handedly orchestrated some of the most horrific acts against fellow humans, but does that mean we should stoop to his level? No. We as Americans were shocked when extremist groups celebrated in the streets with candy bars and music after 9-11, but how are we much different? Are we different because we're raising an American flag, as if that makes us better than anyone else?

No. We are all, at our core, humans.

Sometimes, especially in times like these, this is the hardest thing to remember.

Alex | 2:09 PM

I just got a chance to read the post before this. I'll admit that I am not struggling with feeling relieved that he is gone. Some people aren't really human & therefore don't deserve the same respect as the rest of us.

Some people have such darkness in them that if we don't get rid of it, it will take over the rest of us.

I think your wise wise son put it best when he said "I don't believe in killing people, mom, but everyone dies eventually and when some people die it saves people's lives."

I'm happy Osama is gone. There is a possibility that with his death my son's life has been spared.

PS. I find it ironic that the word verification for me right now is "died"

Robyn | 7:40 PM

I'm just catching up on your beautiful Complicated post and this follow-up, and I'm heartened to see so many people thinking about the complexities of this in a human way.

I just wrote about Osama bin Laden's mother tonight on my blog. As a mom, I hurt for her, somehow.

http://robynpassante.blogspot.com/2011/05/hamidas-heartbreak.html

Anonymous | 12:17 AM

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
- Mohandas Gandhi