Road Show: Day Off/Osama Bin Laden

I couldn’t take my gaze from the dead mouse. Lying at the doorway to the Alice Spring airport the dead mouse was prone on the carpet just before the low humming automatic doors.  People walked past failing to notice the dead rodent.

Mike Wilmot’s wife Elaine rushes over.

“They killed Bin Laden,” says Elaine.

I look up and check the TV that informs that the Americans have in fact found Bin Laden and shot him in the head.  They then buried his body out at sea so he can’t be made into a martyr.  Around the world conspiracy nuts sub consciously rub their hands together with glee.

I’m watching as Americans of every creed and colour rejoices.  Out the front of the White House a crowd gathers, their mobile phones held up shining blue light into the dark, tiny flashes recording this moment forever.  I check my Twitter account and someone has re-tweeted a tweet that states people in America are singing Queen’s “We Are the Champions”.  I wonder if they know that Freddie Mercury was gay?

Jokes hit thick and thin on the Internet.  Most of them are hack one-liners within minutes of being born on cyberspace.  Nearly everyone I know states that Osama Bin Laden was the hide and seek champion from 2001-2011.  Some use this as an opportunity to decry the fanaticism that is being revealed of our allies as they state that violence begets violence.  On the TV crowds sing and hug like they do when their footy team wins a Grand Final.

I remember:

2001 September 12.

Militant Muslims in the Middle East burn effigies of President Bush.  The American flag is burned.  America is considered the Great Satan and the end is nigh.  America has been dealt a body blow it will never recover from.

Back in the present Osama Bin Laden is dead.  Americans chant in the streets.  President Obama locks in a new term as Commander in Chief.  People cheer and cry declaring justice has been served.  The Devil is dead and the end on terrorism is nigh.

And nothing ever truly ends.

I look back at the mouse as an unwary man steps on the carcass, its stomach oozes blood and guts like a split sachet of sauce.  I gently push it to one side with my foot, just outside the terminal.  It rolls over onto its feet and suddenly looks alive.

The metaphor is not lost on me.

Justin Hamilton

Alice Springs

2nd of May, 2011