lunes, 2 de mayo de 2011

A Big Day For America- The Spanish Reaction

Hi Everyone!

I'm sure that yall are all celebrating today's festivities of Bin Laden's death today, as are all of the students here with me in my program. I thought that, while it is fresh on my mind (as I haven't done anything all day except watch coverage online), I would share with yall the Spanish perspective on the whole matter.

I woke up this morning to an old 8:00am alarm of mine from a productive day in the past, highly agitated (today is a holiday and I don't have class), and also confused as to the reason why I had recieved about 10 messages from friends of the likes of "GO AMERICA" and "check the news!!" or, my personal favorite "we lookin for you, we gon' find you, so you can run and tell that...homeboy" (if you don't understand this reference...see the following link: and become the 33,429,940th person to watch).  So.. naturally I woke up a little bit and checked FOXNews (sorry, center/leftwing European channels) to find out about Osama's death.  I was shocked, needless to say.  Hadn't thought much about what was going on with Bin Laden, in years, but it was a moment of surging American pride and a surprising appreciation for the Obama administration.  I felt alot like we all did on September 11th or when we hear the national anthem played at the Olympics for a gold medal winner.  After satiating my desire for conservative news sources, I decided to take advantage of my time here to learn about the international response (aside from that of my madre...which was "OH! great. I'm going to a friend's house for lunch so I'm leaving you some pasta in the microwave. We've known each other since we were 15...etc.")

Coming off of writing a 15 page paper in Spanish on the causes of suicide terrorism, I have a little bit of an ego about my knowledge of the subject...and a much more liberal one as well, I must admit.  The news sources here have noted how monumentous this day is in the history of the war on terror and an opportunity of closure for victims of Bin Laden's regime.  Everyone stands behind Obama and the CIA/Navy Seals who took the time to plan the operation, and is in agreement that death was probably the only option.  It takes some coaxing and rationalizing to get them to understand that death, as opposed to letting Bin Laden chill out in his hideout while waiting for him to go out and get the morning paper so we could capture him, was likely the only and most realistic option.  Europeans are very strongly anti-death penalty, even for killers, and also make the point that a life rotting in prison is worse than the opportunity for Bin Laden to appear as a martyr figure.  The other large sentiment of note here is that Americans are celebrating the death of a human being- the jubilation in the streets of Washington DC, New York City, and in Times Square have been seen as another example of American cowboys/fanatical conservatives (ie Bush, Jr) who are out for blood and unaware of the global consequences of their reactions.  The primary concern here (of which I think many Americans are aware) is the possibility of copycat attacks and the use of footage of "USA" chants as fuel for jihadist movements in the West.  There are a good number of Spaniards who are going about their daily life, largely unaffected by his death, because they don't have the same sort of attachment to the hunt for Bin Laden as we do in the states (despite the attacks in Madrid in 2004).  They are all in agreement that the disposal of Bin Laden's body in a proper Muslim burial, at sea, according to the Muslim tradition of disposal within 24 hours after death, was the right thing to do.  I am very impressed by the foresight of whichever official within the Obama administration made this decision- and think it was the right thing to do.  There are a few conspiracy theories about where the body actually is and whatnot, but for the most part I'd say the Spanish media is in line with the BBC and other European news channels, which echo the same sentiments as ours in the states.  I'll be curious to see whether or not the real death photo of Osama is released.  We have basically no sense of censorship here, so if it gets out and for some reason doesn't get to America, I'll have access.

On a happier note, I found this video from ESPN today and absolutely love it.  The Phillies and Mets were playing a baseball game last night when the announcement was made...

Love you all- enjoy America for me today.


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