Article: Obama & Osama (bin Laden): A victim of the world’s kangaroo court

Pornpen Khongkachonkiet

May 3, 2011

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

 – Martin Luther King Jr.

It has been reported around the world that the US President, Mr. Barack Obama, was supervising an execution as per the order of a Court, which could just be a kangaroo court and it is unknown as to where the trial had taken place. As a result, the accused for the US and the world, Mr. Osama bin Laden, leader of the al-Qaeda organization, was killed along with an unknown number of other people. The operation has been heaped with praise as a major success for the US and peoples the world over. Mr. Barak Obama even reiterated that “And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done”.

The world renowned incidence of the 21st century took place on the night of May 1, 2011, led by the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the US President. It has been reported without being questioned as to if the operation was proportionate or was an overreaction, or was it in breach of international principles for peace and human rights, particularly Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which prohibits any unlawful act, extrajudicial, or summary or arbitrary executions.

In the midst of fear of international terrorism, questions are abound whether in light of human rights and peace principles, the dead hunting of Mr. Osama bin Laden was a lawful act or not. Or was it an act or an order made by a public official or other person acting in an official capacity or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of the state, or was it an unreasonable execution arising from the summary legal action without due process of law?  Such questions may be asked from some quiet corners in the world and could be silenced by the uproar of the world’s anti-terrorism sentiment as long as the culture of human rights and peace does not take root so deeply among people. 

The case reflects how the culture of respect of human rights is essentially weak as Mr. Osama bin Laden’s body was reportedly disposed of in the sea in order to prevent his worshippers from expressing their due respect to him as practiced in a common Muslim tradition. Such an act also reflects how unreasonable fear and suspicion reigns over the world’s leader as he ordered the disposal of body in breach of traditional culture and the will of the surviving family who should have the final say as to how the dead body should be treated, even though the slain person was a number one villain of the world. With proper contemplation, we shall find such an act is in breach of humanitarian principle and social conscience. But news around the world has been geared toward featuring only one-sided information of the person who was killed and reasons to justify the killing have been harboured without allowing any argument by the dead person, whether to be made through press statement, website or facebook. Such an incidence is not dissimilar from the extrajudicial killing faced by those accused of being drug traffickers or insurgents who are issued with arrest warrants in Thailand. The ensuing news after their deaths simply focuses on their guilt without allowing the deceased to have a chance to contend such accusations and without allowing the general public to raise questions and reflect on what happened properly. 

The author has just received the Thai translation of the book “A Force More Powerful : A Century of Nonviolent Conflict” published by the Suan Ngern Mee Ma Publishing House and determines to read the 865-page-thick-book in order to grasp comprehensive aspects of nonviolence. On one hand, the author would like to extend her deepest sympathy toward victims of terrorism and deplore the use of violence in any form against human beings. But on the other hand, the lethal operation sanctioned by the world’s kangaroo court this time which seems to garner overwhelming support from the media and public, has made her feel somehow hopeless with the power of nonviolence and culture of human rights. 

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