Bin Ladin’s Death: Considering the Consequences

Rina Seegoolam, Columnist

When the news broke out, Americans took to the streets of Washington and gathered in front of the White House to chant “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A!” It was the occasion to rejoice and express love for the country that had promised to catch Osama bin Laden 10 years ago and finally achieved this goal at the beginning of this week. Yet this victory does not mean the end of a war. Bin Laden was the leader of one of the most infamous terrorist groups of the past decade and the symbol of the fight against terrorism. What Americans were celebrating at the beginning of this week was the sense that justice had been done for the 2,900 innocent souls who lost their lives on 9/11, or maybe that they finally obtained their revenge.

Yet at the end of the day, the event that we are celebrating is the death of one man. It is not the end of the terrorist threat or the end of a dark era of our history. We do not know what the effect of the death of Al Qaeda’s leader will have on the larger group, but chances are that someone will be eager to replace him. For his supporters, as well as for many other people, bin Laden was the figure that represented the divide between West and East by confronting a perceived American hegemony. His death is not going to change these anti-American and anti-Western sentiments. The United States still has thousands of troops located in Afghanistan. In the event of a counter-attack, security has been reinforced around President Obama, but also in major cities and countries all around the world. The news of bin Laden’s death was astonishing, but it does not entail the advent of a safer world.