Boston in the 21st century is seen as a city with Irish connections, though of course that wasn’t always the case. The attack on the Boston marathon was a callous assault on defenceless people, including many of our own people who travel every year to take part in the event. Just like everyone else, I was horrified to hear of the deaths, the mutilations and the violent amputations. It seems that whoever planted the bombs made sure there would be mass maimings by including ball-bearings and other kinds of shrapnel in the devices.
Who would do a thing like that?
The suggestions range from anti-government survivalists to foreign lunatics but nobody really knows right now. Nevertheless, the coded language is instructive, as media organisations continue to ask if these attacks were carried out by terrorists.
Terrorists as opposed to what? Humanitarians? This is insane.
If you plant a bomb in a public place, you’re a terrorist, whether you happen to be a member of the Michigan Militia or Islamic Jihad, but I greatly fear that the word terrorist is being used as a code to denote Muslim, or even foreigner. I hope that attitude doesn’t prosper, and yet we have already seen the spectacle of a dark-skinned man, injured in the bomb, being chased by Boston people, tackled to the ground and arrested, solely on the basis of his appearance.
Is that why a major bombing got little or no coverage? On the same day as the Boston tragedy, thirty-one people died in Baghdad in a terrorist bomb attack, and yet not one of the major news agencies chose to give it any coverage at all.
There’s a risk in saying this kind of thing, largely because people aren’t able to think clearly, so let’s make it clear for them. Drawing attention to another unreported atrocity does not diminish the experience of the people in Boston. If anything, it weaves it into the human global experience. The Boston people, and the Baghdad victims, and those murdered in Nigeria on the same day, share a common tragedy.
Think back to the mid-90s when people were being slaughtered wholesale in Bosnia and the world’s media fastened onto the conflict. Fearless correspondents flocked to Sarajevo, the sexy, cosmopolitan capital of Bosnia, home to the Winter Olympics, and they breathlessly reported on the conflict from the comfort of their bar stools, just as General Ratko Mladic planned, when he set up his diversionary bombardment of the city.
Did those same journalists flock to Kigali when the Interahamwe were systematically murdering a half million Rwandan Tutsis?
Don’t be ridiculous. Of course they didn’t. That was just a crowd of blacks.
Wouldn’t it be a good thing for all of us if we recognised that a bomb attack in Boston is the same as a bomb attack in Baghdad? Or that a machete mass murder in Rwanda is just as bad as a gun attack on a US school? Or, dare I say it, that a drone attack on an Afghan village causes precisely the same heartbreak?