OxBlog

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

# Posted 7:27 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE RABBIS TEACH THAT WE SHOULD NOT CELEBRATE DEATH. Not even the death of an evil man. According to the Midrash, the angels began to sing songs of praise and celebration as the Egyptians were drowning in the Red Sea. However, God reprimanded them, asking how they could sing when His creatures were dying.

If I were a better man, I would not have truly celebrated the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi. One might ask: Is it possible to celebrate the positive results of Zarqawi's death without rejoicing at the death itself? In an editorial for the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol writes that:
Before considering the possible implications for the war in Iraq and the global struggle against terror, we should pause to celebrate so striking an instance of injustice avenged, and justice vindicated. The unjust--even the barbarically unjust--prevail all too often in this world. It is good for civilized people to see, as Marshall Wittmann put it, that "evil has suffered a setback."
Kristol writes that we should celebrate justice, not death. That is a good message. But in this instance, it is very hard to separate the two.
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Comments:
At the Red Sea an army was destroyed, including soldiers who were innocent of anything more than being soldiers. Thats why the angels were told to mourn their deaths, and why we pour out the wine on Passover. As we would react to say, the deaths of Iraqi soldiers in Saddams Army. Or the deaths of "non-terrorist" insurgents.

We definitely celebrate on Purim. We mock Haman, we laugh, we get drunk. Haman was not just a soldier, but a would be genocidaire. I think Zarqawi is more like Haman than like an Egyptian soldier.
 
There is no greater joy in life than witnessing the deaths of those who would kill you. That joy is a celebration of life, not death.
 
How about if I celebrate the killing of Zarqawi, rather than his death? Too nuanced?
 
I gave up trying to be a better person years ago (too far to go), so I was able to relish Zarqawi's death. My deep regret is that there was only 52 minutes between the blast and his demise - not nearly enough time for him to suffer....
 
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