Justice, not revenge – but this is just the beginning

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No-one could have summed it up better than Maggy Owen. ‘I’ve waited 10 years for this,’ she said, before adding: ‘I see his killing as justice and not revenge.’

Mrs Owen, sadly, is more qualified than most to speak on the subject of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden’s assassination by US forces.

For the last decade, she has lived with the terrible knowledge that the man who killed those thousands, including her own daughter Melanie de Vere, on a day that shocked the world in September 2001, was at large.

There is rejoicing in America today.

And many relatives of those who were mass-murdered in the most horrific way imaginable will regard this as a justice more fitting than the kind any court could have administered.

Recent events in Pakistan will give rise to a new sense of hope, and are already being spoken about as a turning point in the war on terror. But after the cheering has stopped, we must remember that this is a new beginning rather than an end. The actions of Bin Laden’s hijackers on the day the World Trade Centre was targeted had ramifications far beyond the deaths of those in the twin towers.

There are those, like Mrs Owen, whose lives have been forever blighted by the loss of loved ones, and although they speak of closure they will be forever scarred by the atrocity.

And the subsequent military action in Afghanistan has produced a long, solemn and still-growing list of servicemen and women, some very close to home, whose lives were lost as they fought to contain terrorism.

The success in finally bringing down Bin Laden is undoubtedly a high-profile battle won, but it is only a part of the war. There will be others who spring up in his place, for he would not have been able to survive being pursued for a decade without the support of a dedicated, loyal and dangerous band of followers.

Celebrating, then, would seem out of place. Instead we should applaud those who fight for our freedom, remember those we have lost and hope that one day there will be no more need for sacrifice.