Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dates are not Events

I first heard of Osama's death by a media source that has redefined the way we act. While enjoying a bite of Rite Aid (Thrifty) ice cream with the family, I glanced at my blackberry to see the news that Osama had been killed. Of course this was via Facebook.

So the history books will record that 2001 was the fatal year of the terrorist attacks, 2008 was the year Obama was elected and 2011 was the year Osama was killed. History has a funny way of looking at the big, grand picture while ignoring all the messiness of the various situations within the world. It will probably be a while to take in all the sweeping changes of the historical happenings of the last decade. But I think that while history has happened at these dates, events have not.

What do I mean by the difference of events to history? History merely tells, for all intents and purposes, the official story. For example, the dates above are obviously crucial in the American historical narrative. An event, on the other hand, is like the resurrection for St. Paul; it totally transformed him and the entire global landscape for both believers and unbelievers. I would claim this event has taken on universal status and compels people to become faithful to it.

There is a crucial difference from before and after an event whereas in history much of the players and situations remain the same. So when discussing 2001 or 2011 can anyone honestly say we are truly different after these dates? I think this is a good way to see the reactions from all the various sectors of life to Osama's death.

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