This is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. I am told that he perpetrated many evil deeds, including the beheading of innocent hostages, and the bombing of many helpless people trapped in the Iraqi conflict. There are claims that he participated in the beheading of Nick Berg and Ken Bigley. Well, this week he was killed by two 800kg bombs that were dropped on his home by F16 warplanes. The leaders of the United States and Great Britain applauded. George W Bush claimed that the United States had “delivered justice”. And the leaders of most other countries on earth are silent.
And I am confused. Because the laws of most countries believe that a man is innocent until proven guilty. And here we have a country who presumes to act as prosecutor, judge and executioner all in one bombing raid!
Not only am I confused, I am also fearful. I fear my reaction to his killing. Because I do feel a measure of satisfaction. I am glad that “they” have got their man. After what he did, he deserved what he got. “Live by the sword, die by the sword”, I mutter darkly. But this is not my worst fear. My greatest fear is that we will get used to this. Because once the military bombs individuals, we have passed a point of no return. Who will be the individual we want to condemn tomorrow? Or will I become the one who is targeted for removal?
I believe that Michael Berg is best qualified to comment on this. His son Nicholas was one of the hostages beheaded by al-Zarqawi. He noted that there is little difference between George W Bush and al-Zarqawi: he says that they are “two men who believe in revenge”. Restorative justice, such as being made to work in a hospital where maimed children were treated, could have made al-Zarqawi “a decent human being. Now he’s dead, that’s not a possibility. It doesn’t do any good. It just continues an endless cycle of one death after another.”
And I remember some very inconvenient words from the Bible:
Romans Chapter 12
19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
20 On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."n
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
May the soul of Musab al-Zarqawi encounter God - and find peace.