Seeing Is Not Always Believing
By Christine Clark
No picture, no belief? Not for me. I believe Bin Ladin is dead, really dead; to paraphrase: “He’s not only merely dead, he’s really most sincerely dead.”
Naysayers want proof, but I wonder, will there ever be enough proof for such naysayers? Even if a photo is released, in this era of Photoshop and digital imaging, who of those naysayers would believe the photo was not altered? On a dull news day or even one with headlines so bold our eyes become crossed, a conspiracy theory floats around somewhere: we never landed on the moon, JFK’s assassination was a CIA plot, doctors and pharmaceutical companies are too invested in making money from chemo to want a cure for cancer, Big Brother is watching us (that might not be a theory).
The next-up conspiracy theory: Bin Ladin isn’t dead. The CIA has him captive in a secret prison and is... It doesn’t matter. Believers and nonbelievers will always be with us and someone will always be ready to fill in the blanks.
In some ways, however, it is difficult to fathom that no photo will be released, especially in this media age of “everything goes.” Few restrictions guard our eyes, ears, and psyches from the most decadent, most violent, most prurient, most inflammatory words and images. Of course, Americans were not spared such images on September 11, 2001, nor were we spared such images as later videos and photos announced the ruthless murders, often by beheading, of our countrymen and those throughout the world who stood with us against the face of terrorism.
Difficult to fathom it is, but perhaps not as difficult when viewed from another perspective. Perhaps our still-new executive administration is rebelling against the “everything goes” mindset. Releasing photos of a corpse with its skull blown away and brains spattered on what remains does nothing to dignify America. Is it possible that President Obama and his advisors could be ushering in a time of restraint and dignity? I believe yes. It is also possible that they are focusing on national security. Dead though Bin Ladin is, his legacy of hate and violence still lights the fuse of violence throughout the world. Our leaders wisely choose to keep at least one fuse unlit.
The story does not end here, of course. The story would not end if a photo were released. Unfortunately, the story of hate and violence and loathing against the freedom we experience in America will continue, whether or not a photo is released. By not releasing it, we give those who would conquer us one less reason to do so. By not releasing it, we put our country a tier above that foundation of hate and violence that abounds throughout the world. By not releasing the photo, we add at least some dignity and honor to a world that many days sorely lacks it.