Wednesday, April 24, 2013

There's Something Seriously Wrong




photo by mre770 on Flickr


Last week the United States and the world was shocked by a terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, which killed 3 people and injured over 200. For nearly a week millions of Americans and many people all over the world were glued to their TVs watching 24 hour coverage of the events in Boston that culminated in the death of one suspect and the capture of a second. Thousands of tributes from all over the country and the world poured in for the victims and their suffering families. People were calling for swift justice to be meted out for the perpetrators of this terrible crime. It seemed as though everything just came to a stop in the US.

Since I formerly lived in Boston and had many friends there I was particularly effected by the event there. But since I now live in Malaysia I could still see news from the rest of the world on other news channels here that did not have 24 hour coverage, such as CNN and BBC. There were more tragedies than the one in Boston. In Pakistan during the same period of time,  20 people, including men, women and children were killed  and hundreds more were injured in suicide bombings. The Taliban in Afghanistan killed 9 people in a suicide attack and 35 people were killed in suicide attacks in Somalia. In a cafe frequented by young people in Iraq 27 were killed by a suicide bomber. That's 91 people killed and scores injured by terrorists, but hardly more than a 30 second mention on the news or a paragraph hidden in the depths of a newspaper!

Why did we react differently to the same types of tragedies? Grief, sympathy and sorrow are not unique to Americans or Westerners, and I am sure the families of the victims of these other attacks suffered as the families of the American victims suffered, but why didn't we recognize those sufferings. We Americans almost come to expect the rest of the world to share in our grief during a tragedy, but why can't we share other's grief. One of the reasons could be that we were not aware of these tragedies, because the media did not think they were important enough to widely publicize them. Another reason may be that these kinds of tragedies occur so frequently in that part of the world, that we have come to expect them and have become numb to the suffering there. Why can't we show the same concern for others of this earth who are suffering? There's something wrong.

In the Boston attack police authorities acted quickly and effectively to either kill or capture the suspects. In those attacks on the other side of the world we know who is to blame, but we rarely if ever, hear of anyone being brought to justice for these crimes. Is it that the police are incompetent, are they involved or afraid or simply they don't care? We hear of the attacks, but that is all. There's something wrong.

The moment the news broke about the Boston bombings some of the news media and Conservative Republican lawmakers were falling all over themselves to blame, not just Al-Qaeda, but all Muslims for the attack. This ignorance intensified after the suspects were identified as Muslims from Chechnya, even though these numerous mental midgets had no clue of where or what Chechnya was. These morons continued their vitriolic rhetoric directed at all Muslims, foreign and American, as well as all foreigners. When it became known that one of the suspects was a permanent resident, while the other was a naturalized citizen, these same hate mongers then turned their hate towards all immigrants Muslim or otherwise. At a time when a much needed immigration reform bill is before Congress, Conservatives are calling for even more restrictive measures to prevent this from happening again. I am sure these Conservative morons' forefathers, who undoubtedly came from all over the world, are rolling over in their graves. They firmly believe that America's terrorist tragedies are a result of foreigners. This is true in the Boston case and in the case of World Trade Center bombing, but there have been other terrorist attacks in America. What about the other tragedies in the US, where many people have lost their lives, such as the Oklahoma City bombing, the bombings at the Atlanta Olympics, the mass murders of Columbine and Newtown. These were ALL committed by Christian American citizens. Using the logic of our Conservative Congressional bigots should we start deporting all Christian native born Americans? Maybe foreign countries should not allow Christian Americans to visit or emigrate to their countries! There is something wrong.

A couple of days after the Boston bombings a fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded killing 15 and injuring over 200 in the small town. Many of those victims were in a nursing home next to the plant. What idiot approved of a nursing home next to a dangerous chemical plant? Immediately after the explosion some noted Conservative bigots wrongly blamed Muslims. But these explosions were a result of negligence on behalf of the owners and lax enforcement of regulations by both the state and federal governments. A true case of corporate greed and contempt for human life. After the Boston events numerous voices called for the death penalty and jail, for the suspects. I didn't hear anyone calling for the arrest of the owners of the fertilizer plant. I am willing to bet that no one will be held accountable for causing these deaths and injuries. There is something wrong.

As I was watching the events in Boston unfold I was very proud of my adopted city. I was proud to see people helping each other, whatever their religious, racial or ethnic background. The one thing I love about my adopted hometown was how the many cultures all came together to contribute to the life of the city. Immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Greece, Vietnam, China, Lebanon, Syria, Central and South America and many more countries of Europe, The Middle East, South America and Africa share their food, their culture and their love of Boston. Boston is a microcosm of the entire country, where a tragedy can bring out the best in people, but as we can see it also brings out the worst in some people. Conservative bigots and hate mongers want to destroy the very immigrant fabric that made Boston and this country a beautiful place to live. There is something wrong when this happens and we must stand up for what is right and totally repudiate these types of people and their behavior. We must right that which is seriously wrong in our communities and our country.

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