The world’s most wanted terrorist is dead. Osama Bin Laden’s death was reported in the news around the world last Monday, after the US launched a targeted attack against a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. His death marks the end of the 10-year manhunt for the Al-Qaeda leader who is responsible for the bombing of the World Trade Center, killing thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
Announcing Bin Laden’s death, US President Barack Obama said “justice has been done,” while his predecessor George Bush, who was president when Al-Qaeda launched its attacks on the US, hailed it as a “momentous” achievement for the American people.
The world is now wondering: Does his death mean the end of the threat of world terrorism? Or will his death set off another chain of terrorist attacks? How will his death affect the world order?
Following the announcement of his death, celebrations broke out in the streets of New York City. People gathered at Ground Zero, the site where the World Trade Center towers stood, waving banners and American flags to celebrate this victory. The news of Bin Laden’s death was hailed by governments around the world, but many cautioned that the fight against terrorism was far from over.
To the families of the people who died in the 9/11 attack, his death may bring closure. His death could mean that justice has been served. But to his avid followers and hard-line sympathizers, his death could mean a serious blow to their morale. Al-Qaeda has now lost its acclaimed leader, and it will probably take some time before its members can get their acts together. True, he was the inspirational figurehead admired and even revered by many Muslims around the world who embraced his vision of unending jihad against the United States and Arab governments he deemed as infidels, but he spent many years into hiding and had not shown his face or made any statement in a long time. When he was alive, he was a polarizing figure causing a division among terrorists and their supporters. Some supporters saw his terror attacks as righteous acts in the battle between the East and the West. Others saw his deadly acts as unnecessary spectacles harming Islam. This division will most likely prevail even after his death. It is hard to believe that his death would have a direct impact on terrorist operations.
However, now is not the time to let our guard down. Al-Qaeda is more than Osama Bin Laden. We should remain vigilant and brace ourselves for possible retaliation attacks. Sure, the world has become safer without Bin Laden, but his demise does not mean the end of Al-Qaeda and terrorism.
Personally, I don’t gain any satisfaction in his death. Nothing can bring back the lives of the thousands of people who died in the terrorist attacks that he masterminded. One of the world’s most dangerous men is now dead, but there is no time for cheers or fist-pumps. It is still a dangerous world out there.
by Cecile Hwang
Cecile Hwang -
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