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In a piece published recently in the Washington Post detailing the navy seal’s account of the assassination of Osama bin Laden, I found myself to be highly disturbed- not by this account of the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, but rather, by the way the mainstream media has depicted heroes and villains using the United States’ principles of ‘Liberty’ and ‘Justice’.

Whilst reading through this article the sentiments appeared blatantly unapologetic. This bias which I refer to is the depiction of Robert O’Neill, one of the six US navy seals responsible for coordinating the assassination of bin Laden, as a hero…what exactly is heroic about their actions?

The United States of America, the supposed greatest democracy of the free world today, has done anything but promote democratic values in what transpired during the assassination of Osama bin Laden. The killing of the ‘Global Villain Number 1’ came with absolutely no due process, broke several international laws and imposed on the sovereignty of another state. This feat, one must note, is by no means new to the United States, nor do the precedents of recent history make it more acceptable to invade other lands without any repercussions.

What is of utmost concern is that a fair trial was never conducted, with all evidence disposed of in the depths of the Indian Ocean. Not only were the actions of this US navy seal and his team devoid of all democratic principles, but the basic human rights of dignity too. The most rudimentary tenet of respect was completely abolished. Which begs the question once again, how exactly are these actions heroic?

Under the current US administration, we have witnessed an assassination which serves as an epitome of the hypocrisy by the hegemonic power in contemporary discourse. Many of us aren’t surprised by Obama’s leadership though, after all, he did authorize the extra judicial killing of US citizens-Anwar al Awlaki and his 16 year old son Abdurrahmaan. Abdurrahmaan was killed in Yemen by a CIA-drone strike two weeks after the assassination of his father. Obama (not to be confused with Osama) never explained why he was authorising the murder of this Denver-born teenager. Furthermore, Obama has not cared to explain his drone programme operating in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, of which it has only been revealed earlier this year that 2400 people had been indiscriminately murdered. Majority of them civilians. Almost 200 of them children (in Pakistan alone).

This navy seal, a symbol of the United States represents no heroism. Actions that defy basic democratic principles and deny dignity and any form of legality or justice are not heroic. They are simply cowardly.

Written  by:

Aayesha J Soni


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Author: Aayesha SoniAayesha J Soni is a medical doctor, qualified from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her passion is combatting injustice globally, and her particular focus of challenging the growing trend of Islamophobia is done through her various written and oral critiques.