Revelry over someone's death, even if it was that of a dreaded terrorist, was over the top

On May 2, the world erupted in jubilation. People poured out onto the streets to celebrate. Sure, there is nothing wrong with such a public display of elation. Only, it was a bit odd that the revelry was over someone's death.

Why not, one may ask. Osama bin Laden was the most-wanted man in the world, a dreaded terrorist who had unleashed mayhem on the world by masterminding mindless acts of violence, taking thousands of innocent lives to establish a propaganda of hatred.

But does that justify the blood-thirstiness with which news channels — the supposed upholders of objectivity — reported the incident? Was there no occasion to critique the fact that the American forces had opened fire on a man who was unarmed? And the double standards on human rights that allowed the forces to shoot his wife, even as their 11-year-old child looked on? Or the irony that the operation was named Operation Geronimo after the native American who resisted American invasion into Apache tribal land.

Within hours of the biggest ‘breaking news' in recent times, the western media was airing stories of the relief and sense of closure Osama's killing had brought to the survivors and families of victims of 9/11. Perhaps, these people have the right to revenge. But who gave a similar licence to news channels across the west and even India to indulge in callous reportage of the incident? The Indian media took the opportunity to draw daggers against Pakistan, where Osama had found “a safe haven”.

They went all out to establish the case that the Pakistani government and its army were hand-in-glove with the Al-Qaeda. Gruesome morphed pictures of Osama's mutilated body made it to the headlines within no time. In the following days, extremely personal information about the terrorist was aired: that he was living with his ‘favourite wife' (whose photograph was partially concealed initially, but was later revealed), that Viagra was found in his hideout and so on.

The latest basket of information is cashing in on the clues trickling in from sources, and explores the ‘enigma' that was Osama, how he was leading an isolated life and how he was revered by his large family. And so, the decoding of the man goes on, as if his life and death deserve neither privacy nor dignity.

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