The Boston Bomber
Terrorism could not be condoned. The victims of the Boson tragedy deserved all our sympathy. But it was simply the senseless retaliation for the...
No wonder, Boston was associated with a famous Marathon race. A marathon was not just a race; it was a legend associated with ancient Greece. Running 26 miles, 385 yards called for strength, stamina, courage and heroism. That was why it was one of the Prime events of the Olympics and the winner became an international hero. Of late, the event had been dominated by long-legged, black runners from Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. It was said they often drank lions' blood for speed and stamina.
Today, the peace of Boston lay shattered, particularly on the day of the Marathon. As though it were Hyderabad, Damascus, Karachi or Baghdad, two bombs hidden in garbage exploded. At the first count, three persons were killed and more than 150 injured.
The death toll was certain to rise. But while the US mourned its dead, its psyche and pride were hurt. It was the first major bomb blast in the US after the World Trade Centre tragedy. Once again Americans did not know how to react. All these years, in nations targeted by terrorism where bombs exploded and people were killed, the usual cry of the media and the political leaders was generally 'O Not again! Why can't we have a security system like the US? How come no terrorist dared to act within the US?'
The World Trade Centre bombing was an aberration. It also led to the legend that America never forgot such acts and proved it by killing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. In the US, passage of time endowed revenge with an extra coat of sweetness and Barack Obama was hailed as a national hero.
Now he has to work hard to maintain that reputation. It was interesting to study the reactions of the Indian media. 'Look how disciplined and orderly the US crowds are. How quickly the police arrived and took charge. Orders were barked out everywhere and carried out'. Yes, there was much less confusion than in such circumstances in India. No VIPs trampled on the crime scene removing whatever clues might have been left behind by the criminals. These could not be denied.
But what the media failed to mention (perhaps it was a bit embarrassed) was the absence of any blame game. On the Indian scene, reporters and anchors would start flinging charges at the Indian Mujhadeen, Lashkar-e-Toiba or its splinter outfits. Pakistan would be mentioned by name. Two English news channels in particular would lose no time in assembling dozens of retired generals who became red in the face and faced the anchor screaming: "Tell me, Lieut-General, why aren't we marching into Pakistan?"
Washington was calm. In his first reaction, President Obama did not even mention terms like terrorism or terrorist. It was much later that he talked about the dangers faced by his nation and confidently announced that America would catch and punish the bombers. It may take months or years but it would be done.
The Republicans did not demand Obama's resignation. There cannot be a better illustration of maturity and immaturity.A Along with millions of Americans, we watched people dying, the wounded being carried away, screams of shock and fear, mutilated bodies and limbs of children. We read harrowing reports of human suffering. But there was one vital difference; in this case, America was at the receiving end.
Over the years, as America went to war with or without reason (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other minor skirmishes) its warplanes dropped deadly bombs, its Marines shot and killed; more recently, the notorious 'Drones' played havoc with innocent, civilian lives.
I don't think, by and large, American conscience was bothered much. The majority of Americans simply did not care that thousands of Iraqis, Vietnamese or Pakistanis were killed by US attacks. They woke up only when American lives were lost and then the cry began, 'Bring Back Our Boys, they had killed enough'. And then it began to pinch them.
It was the same kind of attitude adopted by the monstrous killing regime which ruled the Zionist State of Israel. If one Israeli was killed in a confrontation in the West Bank or Gaza, the all-powerful war machine provided and maintained by Big Brother America swung into action and took away 100 Palestinian lives as against the one Zionist soldier.
Terrorism could not be condoned. The victims of the Boson tragedy deserved all our sympathy. But it was simply the senseless retaliation for the brutal killings carried out in many parts of the world by the US and Israel against innocent Muslims, particularly Palestinians who had been brutalized and driven out of their homeland.
This will be followed by another terrorist act, retaliation. Will the bloody cycle ever end? Why can't there be justice for all? Why can't Muslims, orthodox Jews or Hindu fanatics learn the concept of Live and Let Live? Educate their women and children and inculcate in them the lesson that human being are all the same.
Barack Obama was more sensible than most American leaders but the notorious Republican right-wingers would give him hell if he did not resort to saber rattling. Innocent Muslims entering or leaving the US would be subjected to more indignities and harassment (Shah Rukh Khan, avoid your US visit for as long as possible!) Anyone with a long beard would be mistaken for Muslim terrorists and humiliated.
In fact, this kind of ignorance was the reason for much racial hatred in the US. Boston had an environment which fought these prejudices but even Boston was targeted. We may be in for bad times.