Saturday 27 May 2017

Martina Devlin: US glee at Bin Laden's death leaves bitter taste

Flag-waving in New York's Times Square after Bin Laden's death at the hands of US forces was announced on Monday
Flag-waving in New York's Times Square after Bin Laden's death at the hands of US forces was announced on Monday
Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

I SPENT a week in New York in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 when the country was in lockdown. People were traumatised and fearful following those terrorist strikes that had left almost 3,000 dead with thousands more orphaned or widowed.

But there was a spirit of resistance too -- most readily apparent in the Stars and Stripes flying everywhere from suburban front gardens to the windows of city apartment blocks. Americans used the national standard as a gesture of faith in their way of life, even as it came under attack.

Such an approach was dignified, in contrast with the boorish exuberance unleashed by Bin Laden's death, when revellers waved flags and painted their faces red, white and blue -- debasing this symbol which, of all the world's flags, is perhaps the most iconic.

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