Osama bin Laden is finally dead. In a strange coincidence with another personalised embodiment of evil, 66 years ago- Adolf Hitler, whose own death was, too, announced on May 1. There are just as many conspiracy theories surrounding bin Laden’s death and burial.
The world’s arch-terrorist who began his campaign of terror right here in East Africa with the US Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam was shot dead by an elite special forces team on the orders of an American President who can trace his origins to Kenya.
There, certainly, is some poetic justice in that if not only plain old justice for the thousands of innocents in East Africa, the US, the Middle-East and South Asia who were ruthlessly targeted by Al-Qaeda in its war against America, or was it a bid to overthrow the House of Saud? Establishment of a global caliphate? Who could keep up?
Already, some are murmuring about the legality of shooting an unarmed man having raided his home in a foreign jurisdiction without a warrant, but I take the view that the general cause of justice has not suffered through Osama’s demise.
In fact, I would hope that more of his ilk was dispatched in a similar fashion.
Now if similar standards were applied in the hunt for some of the people who planned and executed the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, like Felicien Kabuga and friends, wouldn’t that be something? Imagine, a world where any country hosting a genocidaire got the treatment that Pakistan is undergoing now, with questions being asked about who knew what when and whether 20 billion of American taxpayers’ money and ally status are justified.
Alas, we are a small poor African country and we are, thereby, expected to act according to the status bestowed to us.
Basically, we’re limited to asking politely that people responsible for the deliberate slaughter of a million people are extradited to us or the ICTR or failing that, are tried in their countries of refuge.
Osama’s brand of terrorism was dominated by the suicide bomber [they did not invent this but they brought it to our collective conscience].
Last week, our Senate was preoccupied with suicide for entirely different reasons. The occasion was the review of the draft penal code and the combined wisdom of most of the house was to categorise attempted suicide in the same class as attempted murder.
Several things are wrong with this position but the Minister of Justice’s sound-bite [or is it print-bite?] in this paper was in a class of its own for contradiction.
Minister Karugama is quoted in this paper saying, “Globally, suicide is interpreted as not just someone killing himself but killing a human being.
Someone who attempts to kill himself has a problem mentally, physiologically and otherwise; that is why the sentence is so light, you can’t keep that person in prison for so long”.
Other than their species, the Minister acknowledges that suicides have deep-suited problems. How these problems are solved by a sojourn in prison, long or short, is not explained.
For a person to decide to take his/her own life in my opinion is an indictment against society as a whole for being unable to remedy, or even detect, the underlying cause for a person to go against the all-powerful survival instinct.
For the same society to decide to punish them for attempting a suicide verges on the callous.
It would appear that under the new penal code, if you’re suicidal, you’d better go through with it or risk a two-year stay in prison.
Makes one wonder what a repeat offender of attempted suicide would get. You can bet it won’t be therapy.