Osama bin Laden – one man’s death reminds us of all the others who died in his name.

I don’t even have to identify the event but that day in September 2001 still shocks me and on many occasions since then, on a sunny day when the skies are blue,  a small part of my mind recalls those planes crashing into the Twin Towers.

Whilst we read about the death of its perpetrator, Osama bin Laden, we remember the thousands who have been killed in his name, not just in New York (2,652) and Washington D.C. (126) as well as on those planes, American Airlines Flight 77 (59), United Airlines Flight 93 (40), United Airlines Flight 11 (87) and United Airlines Flight 175 (60) but also in Tanzania (11), Kenya (250), Aden (17),  Bali (202),  Madrid (191) and London (52) – 3747 deaths in total on the official record. Mass murderers have killed more than this, of course, but very few have been responsible for such well-organized, cynical, callous and inhuman crimes against humanity. It is not, of course, a numbers game. Each of those statistics were human beings and most of them died in the worst possible way in horror and fully aware of their hopeless predicament. I don’t believe the World can ever forget or forgive this.

Osama bin Laden himself is now dead after ten years living in a cowardly form of hiding but apparently still plotting and planning with that chillingly smug smile that is so similar to the smile on the face of another man such as him. The ruthlessly efficient, callous and cruel Heinrich Himmler who had a similar knack of coming up with unspeakable atrocities. The film footage from the Belsen Concentration Camp haunts my waking thoughts just as much as those planes flying into the Twin Towers. Let us all hope that the World will never see the like of either men again and let us also hope that we will live in a World where we learn that it is our own callousness to the predicaments of poor, hungry, uneducated and ignored people that leads to the desperation that allows men such as these to convince others that their cause is justified.

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