America is gasping a collective sigh of relief. Bin Laden was that gum you can’t get off the bottom of your shoe, that bit of sand you can never get rid of after a walk on the beach, that pesky terrorist we just can’t find.
Well, we found him, and now he’s dead. It’s good… right? But let’s clarify a couple things.
He’s no hero to Arabs. Heroes can live at home. We kicked him out.
He’s no martyr. Martyrs face their enemies. He hid from his.
Clearly, however, his death changes everything. I can remember waking up on the morning of September 11, 2001, flipping through my channels, as I do every morning. But on that day, every channel was the same. I almost called the cable company until I realized what was going on. The rest of the day was spent making phone calls, talking to family, and laying low. My emotions were a mix of grief, confusion, and fear. As Arab-Americans, on that day, our future changed for the worse. On this day, it will change again, hopefully this time for the better.
On that Tuesday evening in 2001, Americans gathered together because of what bin Laden did to us. Tonight, as I write this, they are gathering again because of what we did to him. We have been waiting 10 years for this.
The war on terror, for all intensive purposes, is over. We can finally move on. Obama got Osama.
So, I have some questions…
Can we finally go back to paying $1.50 a gallon for gas? Maybe even stop all this talk about “speculating” about the Middle East? The Saudi government is surely not going anywhere now. Bring down the price of gas! Osama bin Laden is dead!
Can Israel just let us Palestinians live in peace? Maybe even treat us like human beings? There will be no Islamic state in the Holy Land. Peace in the Middle East! Osama bin Laden is dead!
Can I go through the airport without getting profiled, fondled, and humiliated? Maybe even I stop showing up 6 hours early? Muslims are not taking over any more planes. Let us fly! Osama bin Laden is dead!
Can people like Terry Jones and Peter King stop getting so much attention? Maybe even stop having congressional hearings about how dangerous Islam is… oh, and stop burning Qurans? Muslims are nice. They love Jesus Christ! Osama bin Laden is dead!
Will white girls start liking me again? Maybe even introduce me to their parents? I have had no white girlfriends since September 11. Take me back Brittany! Osama bin Laden is dead!
Bin Laden’s death is being celebrated very loudly in America, and very quietly in the Middle East. It allows both sides of my consciousness, the Arab and the American, to reconcile. I’ve joked in the past that my inner psyche is not controlled by a devil and an angel. Instead, I have a white guy on shoulder and an Arab on the other. Usually, they fight… tonight, they’re doing the tango.
And I hope people finally will give Obama some credit. I’m happy he was one to do this. I knew having a Muslim president would pay off.