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Pray for Osama who persecutes you

By Tess Lawrence - posted Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved with Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” ~ John Donne, 1624.

When President Barack Obama laid that wreath on Ground Zero, I lit a votive, in my own mad lapsed Catholic way, and thought of these powerful words and of the inalienable if sometimes unpalatable truths they contain.

It doesn’t matter a displaced fig leaf that Johnny-been-there-and-Donne-that wrote these words centuries ago.


Johnny D was the Johnny Depp (as in handsome spunk) of his day. And of this day.

He’s dead in body, but not in spirit. Like Osama bin Laden.

What is Donne cannot be undone.

But what is done in our name needs to be undone to transparency; otherwise we need to place wreaths not only upon memorials for our dead, but also for the living, at the shrine of The Tomb of the Unknown Truth.

I will not rejoice in the death of Osama bin Laden.

Even if he had died of natural causes, of kidney and ideological failure, I would not have rejoiced but felt a sense of uneasy relief.


I never thought that Osama bin Laden initially had the degree of power and influence that George W Bush attributed to him. He didn’t.

Bush stupidly gave it to him.

In the form of an imprimatur when bin Laden’s personal jihad on the House of Saud, which ultimately manifested itself on American airspace and soil on 9/11, was not defined as a war crime against the United States and the human family, but instead was given legitimacy as an act of war.

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A longer version of this article first appeared on Independent Australia.

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About the Author

Tess Lawrence is a journalist advocate and specialist in ethical media services and crisis management and contributing editor at large for Independent Australia.

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