I could hear the cheers as I got out of the taxi, two blocks away. I could hear them from right in front of Park 51, the site of a planned Islamic community centre and mosque that met ferocious opposition last year for being too close to the "hallowed ground" of Ground Zero. It was minutes after President Obama's announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed, and I was heeding a friend's suggestion that we – both Muslims – take candles and stand in vigil where the World Trade Centre stood before Bin Laden's footsoldiers took it down.
So it was a shock to find hundreds of others had turned that hallowed ground into the scene of a home crowd celebrating an away victory they hadn't attended, the roots of which they were probably not there to experience or were too young to remember.
There was always something sickening about tourists taking pictures of themselves posing in front of that big gaping hole called Ground Zero. "Me at site of mass slaughter, NYC" as holiday photo caption is wrong in every language, surely. It didn't take 10 minutes for the frat party atmosphere to sicken me. Olympic-style chants of "USA! USA!" I could just about take as a freshly minted American, as of Friday. But "Fuck Osama! Ole ole ole!" crushed any ambitiohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifn of dignity for the thousands killed, many of whom had jumped hundreds of storeys to their deaths, their bodies shattered to pieces close to where we stood.
It's been disgusting here the last few days. As I said below, it's as if nothing else has gone on in NY since. Yes, Osama's dead, and it's a good thing his trace is wiped from the gene pool. It's certainly no excuse to party, not after what happened to this nation after 11 September. We should be mourning, not Osama bin Laden, but the fact we wasted 10 years and how many thousands of lives in an effort to get him. We should be mourning the fact, even now that he's dead, nothing is going to change.