Hey, Osama, have you been in touch with the news this past week, or are you still hiding under a rock?
Maybe you’ve seen or have heard that a massive tsunami in the Indian Ocean has killed at least 100,000 of our fellow humans. More than a million survivors are suffering, at risk, and struggling. Men, women, children, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Asians, Indians, Europeans, Africans, Americans, poor people, rich people, militants, pacifists, people like me, and, yes, people like you.
You’ve proven you can organize people. You’re a wealthy man who’s proven he can raise money. You’ve proven you can get the job done. Ah, but there’s the rub; you’re only good at destroying things, no better than the tsunami itself, although your “accomplishments” pale in comparison. Tell me, Osama, and tell the world, or better still, show us: What are you going to do for those who’ve died and those who are now struggling to survive? What about their jihad, their struggle* – not against Westerners, Christians, or other “infidels,” but their jihad to bury the dead, to eat, to heal, to rebuild? Where is your base, now, with its army of the supposedly righteous? Can you not mobilize them to do something good for these people?
Maybe, Osama, this tragedy to all humanity will get the attention of the people who follow you. Maybe they will stop looking at their fellow humans through your veil of religious zealotry. Maybe they will see the common suffering of all peoples of all walks of life in the areas hit by the tsunami. Maybe they will see governments and corporations and people of all religions, of all economic classes, and of all political beliefs contributing and volunteering to the relief effort. Maybe they will see that by working together as humans we can do far more good than the petty little acts of violence and destruction you’ve wrought.
Over the last seven days since the tsunami first struck, you’ve been notably quiet. Consider this: Even Yassar Arafat, a man who many consider to be more a terrorist in your vein than a “freedom fighter,” immediately spoke out against the tragedy, injustice, and amorality of September 11. Even Saddam Hussein at least had something to say immediately after September 11, though he didn’t condemn the act nor express sympathy for the victims. Your silence and inaction are speaking louder than anything you’ve ever said or done. It’s telling the world you are not interested in helping those who are truly suffering. You really don’t care.
Meanwhile, the entire rest of the world is pulling together to help the victims of this disaster.
What are you going to do, Osama? Go back and crawl under your rock and stay there.
* After initially posting this, I was questioned on my usage of “jihad”. While most Americans take it to mean “holy war,” many Muslims have been trying to correct that during the last few years, emphasizing that a more literal translation would be that it means “struggle.”