Tuesday, 3 May 2011

On death and viral communication...

I found out about Bin Laden's death via my morning Facebook check. Several of my friends had posted about it, and some of the organisations I've "liked" posted, too--my newsfeed was filled with it, just like when Michael Jackson died. Over the next day or so, I kept seeing this Martin Luther King Jr. quote posted over & over--and it turns out to not even really be a MLK Jr. quote. I love how things go viral and unverified so quickly on the internet.
Just because it isn't really MLK Jr.'s words doesn't mean it isn't true, though. Celebrating the death of our enemy brings us down to their level.

President Obama has approached this entire operation with caution & restraint, and his reaction to the outcome was just as measured & restrained. He has so much more dignity and class than we've seen in the past administration, with its swagger & cockiness marred by failure to achieve their objective of capturing Osama bin Laden.

Images of crowds gathering at Ground Zero chanting "USA! USA!" after hearing the news just show the worst side of America--the mob mentality, saying "we're number one because we killed the bad guy," etc. But the popularity of this misattributed quote says something about the best side of America--sharing a voice of calm and reason, reflecting on the meaning of an event rather than waving flags and chanting mindlessly, and looking to our heroes for inspiration and guidance--even if it wasn't really our hero's words at all.

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