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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

‘Generation 9/11’ Struggles To Make Sense Of Bin Laden’s Death

Here & Now: Youth Radio commentaries on bin Laden’s death

BOSTON, Mass.– Boston-area college students, who came of age in the shadow of 9/11, are debating the meaning of Osama bin Laden’s death and whether it should be celebrated.

On Sunday, thousands of college students spontaneously gathered across the country– from Penn State to the Boston Common— to celebrate bin Laden’s death.

The next day, taking part in a “Coffee and Conversation” meeting at Boston University, students sparred over whether rejoicing was the best choice.

“I think every single person who went down to the Common and chanted ‘USA’ needs to be ashamed of themselves.”

– Jeff Stein, BU Senior

“I think every single person who went down to the Common and chanted ‘USA’ needs to be ashamed of themselves,” BU senior Jeff Stein said.  He argued that bin Laden’s death came with too high a cost: civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan during the U.S. wars there.

BU sophomore Aditya Rudra agreed with Stein’s opinion that the U.S. has taken many missteps in its foreign policy decisions.  But Rudra said he would never feel ashamed for attending celebrations.

“I know that if I was in Libya or if I was in Syria I could not get up out of my dorm and march to the Boston Commons… I would not be able to take the picture with a police officer that I did on the way, I might get shot.  And I would not have the opportunities that I have today.”

Rudra called on his fellow students to use bin Laden’s death as an impetus to find ways to push for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“That’s why I marched, that’s why I went to Boston Common, to say that my country is not perfect.  But I live here and I love it.”

Other stories from Tuesday's show
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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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