Obituaries

I wonder what Butler would have made of the media response to Osama bin Laden’s death.  It was covered widely as a political/military event, of course, but also given something like standard obit treatment by outfits like the NYT:

“Osama bin Laden, who was killed in Pakistan on Monday, was a son of the Saudi elite whose radical, violent campaign to recreate a seventh-century Muslim empire redefined the threat of terrorism for the 21st century….Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden was born in 1957, the seventh son and 17th child, among 50 or more, of his father, people close to the family say. … All of the Bin Laden children were required to work for the family company,  meaning that Osama spent summers working on road projects. Muhammad bin Laden died in a plane crash in 1967, when Osama was 10. The siblings each inherited millions  — the precise amount was a matter of some debate — and led a life of  near-royalty. Osama — the name means “young lion” — grew up playing with Saudi  princes and had his own stable of horses by age 15.”

(Here’s a link to the full thing: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/world/02osama-bin-laden-obituary.html)

In the sense she describes in Chapter 2, this treatment makes his a publicly “grievable” death.  How does formally recognizing the deaths of villains play into the kind of mourning and recognition of mutual vulnerability she calls for (and claims isn’t happening)?  More examples:

John Demjanjuk, 91, Dogged by Charges of Atrocities as Nazi Camp Guard, Dies

Ariel Sharon, Israeli Hawk Who Sought Peace on His Terms, Dies at 85

Slobodan Milosevic, 64, Former Yugoslav Leader Accused of War Crimes, Dies

 

 

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