After 10 years, ‘Justice has been done’

Osama bin Laden, leader of al-Qaida and mastermind of the September 11 attacks, is dead.

President Barack Obama officially announced in his address to the country on Sunday that bin Laden was killed in a U.S. operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Cerritos student German Sanchez, psychology major, said he was listening to NPR in his car when he first heard the news of bin Laden’s death.

“It’s been ten years since 9/11, and I was pretty surprised nobody caught him. Even more surprising is where he was caught; from what I understand he was not in a mountain like people were thinking,” he said.

The mansion where he was found, a compound with many layers of defense, was the scene of a 40 minute gunfight that ended with the confiscation of his body by the U.S.

Political science instructor Sunday Obazuaye said he woke from a nap to breaking news of the President’s announcement, mentioning that the delay of the address led to the news leaking out into the media as Obama contacted U.S. leaders.

“To me, that was the most popular quote of the night. ‘Osama bin Laden is dead.’

“It’s really happened.”

He said he stayed up late listening to the analysis, saying the phenomenon was the role new media played.

“With Facebook, twitter and people who were texting or tweeting each other, before you knew it, the White House lawn was packed with people,” Obazuaye said.

People, particularly students, began celebrating the news of bin Laden’s death Sunday night, from the sidewalk of the White House to New York City at Times Square.

The Lantern, Ohio State University’s student newspaper, reported that thousands of OSU students celebrated early Monday morning, while other students said they thought the celebrations were morbid.

Sanchez talked about reactions from people he knew that were more affected.

“I know a lot of people from the military,” he said. “Those people tend to be more affected than I was because, being in the military, they were out there fighting for what Osama bin Laden did: terrorism.”

Director and founder of the Global Consortium for Sustainable Peace, and Cerritos history professor John Haas said he thinks that al-Qaida has had a major hit against it with the killing of bin Laden.

“The United States has been fighting global terrorism for a long time, and as we start to look at the death, I start to think about what’s going to happen to al-Qaida.

“You cut off the Hydra’s head, and something else grows there. I’m a little worried about retaliation.”

Sanchez shared his feelings about backlash.

“The one concern that I do have is that with his death, it’s not over. I just hope that maybe it won’t be as bad,” he said.

The search for bin Laden led the U.S. to war in Afghanistan, which has cost the nation more than $400 million since 2001.

Student veterans at Cerritos see this event as proof that their efforts, along with those of their fellow military comrades, are now justified.

Frank Dussan, a student veteran majoring in criminal justice, said, “What we were doing in Afghanistan is finally going to be seen around the world.”

ASCC president and student veteran Felipe Grimaldo believes that this is something that can lift the spirits of Americans almost a decade after the tragic 9/11 events.

“In the United States right now, we need some sort of pick-me-up– something to ensure the American people that there is some sort of success going on overseas,” Grimaldo said.

He also mentioned that this can also serve as a means for Americans to work together to move forward.

“Now is the time for the American people to unite together. This made the people come out and say, ‘Let’s move forward and see what else we can do.’

“In supporting any of the decisions our president has, either you’re a Republican, Democrat, whoever it is, we have to make sure we’re supporting our own government.”

International Students Association Adviser Danita Kurtz shares Grimaldo’s sentiment of using this event as a method of recovery.

“Hopefully, this can start curing the country and can help bring it to the point to where we can stop this war and move forward as a country,” Kurtz said.

Obazuaye described student reaction at Cerritos College on 9/11.

“The students were wondering, ‘why did this happen?’ and ‘what did the people do to deserve what happened?'”

“The fear of the country under attack,” Obazuaye said.

Obazuaye said that he explained to a student shortly after 9/11 that the goal of terrorists is to demoralize.

“Terrorists go after civilian population, because they know that in a democracy … if they can put pressure on the population, that will make them go against their leaders.”

The FBI, after placing him on their Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1999, recently updated the status of bin Laden as deceased. 

After subsequent DNA tests proved it the body to be bin Laden, he was buried at sea Monday morning at an undisclosed location.

Haas said, “Burying somebody at sea and not disclosing where he’s been buried, the purpose of that is not to set up a shrine, which doesn’t mean that people won’t still see him as a martyr.”

According to the Washington Post, Hamas, considered by the European Union and countries such as the U.S. and Japan as a terror organization, condemned bin Laden’s death and referred to him as a Muslim warrior.

In his address, Obama said that bin Laden was not a Muslim leader, calling him a mass murderer of Muslims, while stressing that the U.S.-led war is against terrorists, not Islam.

Haas said that the symbolism of bin Laden should not be underestimated, but with the revolutions across the Middle East that al-Qaida loses relevance.

“Teaching global studies this whole semester has just been incredible; usually when you teach history you’re going in the past.”

“We’ve had so many revolutions that have taken place in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain, and the revolutions and the conflict in Libya, it’s wonderful to be a teacher and have those things taking place in your classes.”

Haas will be hosting “Revolution in Egypt, now what?” as part of the GCSP in the Teleconference Center Wednesday from 9:30 to 11 a.m., which will include discussion about the aftermath of removing President Hosni Mubarak.

Administration of justice major Joshua Villalta believes that, despite the death of bin Laden, the war in Afghanistan is far from over.

“It would be pointless to say, ‘The war’s over’ because it’s not. We just took down one of the major powers and it’s going to continue,” Villalta said.

Obazuaye encouraged students to pay attention to the news from now on because elections are coming next year, saying that bin Laden’s death will be politicized in campaigns.

“That’s what makes American government interesting,” he said, “so it doesn’t matter how people seem to be happy and jubilant, there will still be those who will question the legality, the constitutionality of how it came about and how it was carried out.

“That’s what makes it interesting for me, teaching American government. It’s never dull.”