It’s been ten days since Osama Bin Laden was killed by an American team of CIA officers and Navy SEALs. A few days after this historic event, a friend sent me a blog post from Psychology Today, “The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Osama Bin Laden’s Death,” written by Pamela Gerloff, Ed.D.
While the article itself was an interesting read, equally so were the range of comments. Gerloff’s questioning of Americans exuberantly celebrating Bin Laden’s death struck a nerve with many readers, so much so that the author modified her original post to incorporate feedback.
A week after Bin Laden was killed came Mother’s Day. According to Wikipedia, “Julia Ward Howe was one of the early calls to celebrate Mother’s Day in the United States. Written in 1870, Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. The Proclamation was tied to Howe’s feminist belief that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level.”
When I read this Mother’s Day Proclamation, what strikes me the most is that it could have been written last week rather than 150 years ago.
What is my response to Gerloff’s blog post? “Celebrations over Bin Laden’s death shows us how deeply the bonds of trauma and war run in America’s soul. Wherever there is an experience of injustice, there is a bond — persecutor-persecuted, terrorist-terrorized, murderer-murdered — one doesn’t exist without the other. In all these trauma experiences, bonding occurs, and the drive for the consequences of injustice to be seen is primal.
“There are two images that come to mind when we think of bonding: the first is of babies bonding with their moms; the second is of bondage — where there is enslavement instead of freedom.
“My living prayer is for all of us to listen to the voices of mothers more keenly and to see more clearly the ways in which the inheritance of unhealed war and trauma bonds influence our families and nations.”