2011 was the year of the “BIG BAD” being toppled. This was the year that played out like some kind of twisted video game. Off hand I can think of three Big-Bad’s who left the world in 2011.
Osama bin Laden – The” head of the snake” leader of the worlds most active terrorist organisation.
Muamar Gaddafi – Much reviled head of a country renowned for training terrorists.
Kim Jong-il- The worlds longest serving dictator.
The first two in my reflective list were terminated with extreme prejudice. I think this was justified to a huge degree based on their actions alone. I guess you could call it a “Live-by-the-sword-die-by-the-sword” philosophy. Or a “Reap-as-you-sow” philosophy. Either way, they got what they deserved. Dirty, violent deaths meted out in public. I know this sounds rather Old Testament, but, I do believe that these type of “people” deserve no better end that what they received.
The last on my list is, in my mind at least, a huge enigma. Kim Jong-il was the North Korean dictator for a long time. He managed to keep an entire country blind-folded, single-handedly. Yet, this was a man who was a fanatical film fan. He was also adored by his “captive” constituents. He shuffled off this mortal coil in his sleep. Not really the end one envisions for a “Big Bad” is it. But Jong-il is a villain by default really. I know he was not a very nice person. This is the man, after all, who kidnapped the most talented South Korean film director of the time and imprisoned him for seven years. During his incarceration the director existed on a diet of salt, rice, and grass. At the end of his “sentence” Jong-il brought the man’s wife to North Korea and placed them both on house arrest. The purpose of this whole exercise was to improve the North Korean film industry. Like I said, he was a fanatical film fan – just a not too tightly wrapped one in my opinion.
Still Jong-il was the least of the Big Bad’s who departed in 2011. Old age and ill health defeated him. The first two were beaten by the military – although Gaddafi was technically done in by his own countrymen.
I know I’m taking the long way around the barn to make my point, but, I’ll get there soon. I made the somewhat flippant remark about a “twisted video game” above, but I do think of things in a gamer’s verse sometimes. It helps to take away the horror of it all, I suppose. But my point is this: Two of these monstrous examples of “humanity” were taken down by young men and women who serve their countries in uniform.
While I type this there are still young men and women who voluntarily serve their countries in the pursuit of defeating evil and aiding the worlds downtrodden. A lot of these young people die as a result. When I was a kid, we had the draft, or conscription if you prefer that phrase, and the military was full of young folks who didn’t really want to be there.
So I guess while I wait for Big Ben to chime in the new year I’ll reflect mainly on the young men and women who daily put themselves in harms way to fight and die for our freedom. These brave people who volunteered for the chance to stop evil spreading and protecting our rights. Not just in 2011 but in the new year as well.
Happy New Year to our Armed Forces. May 2012 be the year where peace becomes the clarion cry that the world listens to.