American Activist, Aishah Schwartz on the Death of Osama bin Laden

"I will always remember where I was, not unlike millions the world over, when I heard the news that Osama bin Laden was dead; as I remember where I was standing on the morning of 9/11." – Aishah Schwartz
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Aishah Schwartz


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May 2, 2011 - PRLog -- CAIRO, EGYPT – I had quite characteristically pulled another all-nighter on Sunday trying to get caught up on some work after spending a majority of April attending various demonstrations in Cairo, yet as my head hit the pillow there I was, checking my email and Facebook pages one last time before succumbing to utter sleep deprivation. There it was in my Facebook news feed: "Osama bin Laden dead."

Dashing to the sitting room to grab the TV remote control, I quickly turned on the television. Scrolling down through the news channels in the favorite's line-up, I stopped at CNN. Sure enough, the world was waiting for U.S. President Barack Obama to make an official statement.

While listening wearily for more than an hour to commentary and speculation surrounding the circumstances of bin Laden's death, I booted-up my laptop to read the unfolding story via Facebook, where between my profile and public figure pages, it I have found myself with more than 6,000 'friends' globally.

After finally hearing the President's speech, with the news still tuned in, I returned once again, to the commentary on Facebook.

Unfortunately, it did not take long before I ultimately decided to temporarily disable comment posting on the walls of my two Facebook pages – for the sake of personally choosing to not remember the day for all the negativity and disparaging remarks that I found myself reading.

If another country has perceived itself as terrorized by a leader, said country would anticipate the world to rally in support of the country's revolt against tyranny.

Moreover, it is also becomes naturally anticipated that when the tyrant falls the same solidarity will be extended in celebration of victory.

However, over on Facebook, the commentary was somehow indicating it was wrong of me – as a Muslim American activist standing in solidarity with the revolutionaries of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Syria, etc. – to also stand in solidarity with my fellow American citizens; relieved to learn that a man they believed had terrorized them was reported as being dead.

It seemed that many commenting on the death of Osama bin Laden expected that, in this historical moment of post-9/11 closure filling millions of American hearts; I should stand in solidarity with the conspiracy theorists.

There were 10-years prior to May 1, 2011 for conspiracy theorizing.

I will always remember where I was, not unlike millions the world over, when I heard the news that Osama bin Laden was dead; as I remember where I was standing on the morning of 9/11.

Similarly, I imagine the citizens of Benghazi, Libya will remember where they were standing on the day they were spared from an imminent massacre at the command of their own tyrant, eternally grateful equvf the day after for the aid they had requested.

That said, it was with intent that I refused to allow myself to be coerced today by negatively disparaging comments, into feeling as though there is something dirty about being an American.

It was with God's permission that I was born in Detroit, Michigan – a city that surprisingly, 50-years later, is now predominantly Muslim.

It was by that same permission that I was raised in the United States of America.

Additionally, I am grateful that, 41-years after my birth, having never previously heard the first thing about Islam, nor having ever met even one Muslim, I was introduced to the concepts of Islam through a Somali immigrant Muslim.

On April 19, 2011, I celebrated my ninth year as a Muslim, having made my post-9/11 statement of faith or conversion, at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. on April 19, 2002.

Being Muslim does not equate to being anti-American, neither does it serve as a relinquishment of one's rights as a citizen of the United States.

Nor does being American and standing in solidarity with my fellow citizens, on a day that will forever be remembered in the history of the United States as post-9/11 day of closure – make me not Muslim.

In his comments late Sunday night President Obama stated his hope that Americans will "think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11" and remember that, "on that day, no matter what God we prayed to, we were united as one American family."

United I stand; Muslim and American.

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Aishah Schwartz, a Muslim American, is an internationally renowned human rights activist and writer focusing on the rights of Muslim women and the plight of the Palestinian people affected by the Israeli imposed illegal embargo on Gaza. Full biography here:
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Page Updated Last on: Dec 16, 2012
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