Boston, you’re my home: part 2

Copley Square, in happier times.

“I hope you understand, most of all, that you have failed. Because today in Boston there stands a great many people who are not afraid of you, who will go out and live their lives as they always have, and those people will infect others with their confidence, and soon this event will be a terrible memory that reminds us of how strong we are when we work together to rebuild and support one another — and how weak are those who would try to destroy our spirit.”
– Lesley Kinzel, Dear Terrorist: An Open Letter to the Person Who Bombed My City

Go read Lesley’s piece, all of it. It’s powerful and beautiful.

But when she mentions the terrorist’s potential home in Revere, keep in mind something she didn’t know at the time: that the man whose home was searched in Revere was not actually a suspect, but only a Saudi national who happened to be at the Marathon–and who was tackled by a bystander when he ran away from the explosions.

Tackled. For running away from an explosion, like any sane person–aside from first responders–would do. For running away while being Arab.

My Rageasaurus is immensely, immensely angry. It wants to punch racism right in its ugly face.

The rest of me wants you to read the following links:

“As a 20-something Pakistani male with dark stubble (an ode more to my hectic schedule as a resident in the intensive-care unit than to any aesthetic or ideology), would I not fit the bill? I know I look like Hollywood’s favorite post-cold-war movie villain. I’ve had plenty of experience getting intimately frisked at airports. Was it advisable to go back to pick up my friend’s camera that he had forgotten in his child’s stroller in the mall? I remember feeling grateful that I wasn’t wearing a backpack, which I imagined might look suspicious. My mind wandered to when I would be working in the intensive care unit the next day, possibly taking care of victims of the blast. What would I tell them when they asked where I was from (a question I am often posed)? Wouldn’t it be easier to just tell people I was from India or Bangladesh?”
– Haider Javed Warraich, Living Through Terror, in Rawalpindi and Boston

“The likelihood of some good emerging is strongest if we allow ourselves to live in this moment for all that it offers. The likelihood of not taking a wrong collective turn is strongest if we live with the grief long enough, deeply enough, to really feel it. The likelihood of uniting ourselves as members of the same community is strongest if we let that compassion extend to all those who will feel the ripple effects of this attack for long months and years, if we hold in our hearts both the victims and those who will be accused of causing their pain. Our only hope for pulling ourselves back together is to name the cycle and change its pattern.”
– Rinku Sen, How We Can Break the Cycle of Pain From Mass Violence

“As something as horrifying as this afternoon in Boston is literally unfolding, as we are worrying about loved ones who may be affected, we already have to worry about the consequences of backlash violence. We have to worry about the sensationalism in the media. We have to worry about being attacked because of the color of skins, the turbans or hijabs on our heads, the beards on our faces. I pray that people in the United States and beyond have learned something in the last 11 and a half years. I pray that the collective response to today will be drastically different from the knee-jerk racism that pervaded the days, weeks, months, and years after 9/11/01.”
– Brooklynwala, Prayer for Boston and an End to Racist Backlash


2 thoughts on “Boston, you’re my home: part 2

  1. Maybe I am being optimistic, maybe I am only around people who are intelligent and accepting, but I haven’t come across hateful people in the same overwhelming numbers I’ve come across people advocating for fair-mindedness. What’s your experience thus far?

    • I have definitely come across far more people advocating fair-mindedness than hateful people as well! And I think that’s a really good thing. But I still worry, because it only takes a few hateful people to cause a lot of harm.

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