Boston bombings verdict – prepare for another wave of condemnation
I am afraid every time a name is announced; afraid that it might be a name shared by my brother, family, or someone of my faith
Earlier this week, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted of all 30 charges he was charged with for his involvement in the Boston Marathon bombings just under two years ago. What this means to Muslims living in the Western world is that they must brace themselves for a wave of condemnations for the gruesome act committed by a troubled man who happened to be Muslim.
I fear watching the news
It is sad that I am fearful during my morning routine of watching the news. I am truly afraid every time I hear of a crime that has been committed, and I am scared when the news anchor announces the name because I am afraid that it sounds even slightly Arab or Muslim – afraid that people of my faith will be vilified because of the actions of one or a few individuals.
I am afraid every time a name is announced; afraid that it might be a name shared by my brother, family, or someone of my faith. Some may call me selfish, but I see myself, and those around me, as individuals.
A line from Suheir Hammad’s poem “First Writing Since” rings in my ear every time I see people condemning such heinous acts: “Nobody vilified white men when McVeigh bombed Oklahoma.”
I am afraid every time a name is announced; afraid that it might be a name shared by my brother, family, or someone of my faithYara al-Wazir
Sometimes I wonder, are we actually putting the fire out by condemning these crimes, or if we’re fuelling it. If we do it once, we must do it every single time.
I am by no means saying that the crime was not heinous, ugly, gruesome, or barbaric. That is exactly what a crime is. The Boston bombing was a crime against athletes, a crime against humanity, but most importantly, a crime against my faith.
Expecting condemnation reinforces racism
As part of the Muslim population living in the Western world, we need to recognize that we are individuals. The issue has become so prominent, that there is even a satirical app for mass condemnation.
I can’t imagine what the victim’s families are going through, or what the marathon runners experienced. The last time I ran a race, it was the Race For Life in memory of my aunt who passed away from cancer. The next time I run a race, I will run it in memory of everyone who has had to suffer from these bombings: those who lost their lives, those who lost their limbs, and those who lost time trying to explain that those deranged criminals are representative of themselves, not of a faith shared by 1.5 billion people worldwide.
Yara al Wazir is a humanitarian activist. She is the founder of The Green Initiative ME and a developing partner of Sharek Stories. She can be followed and contacted on twitter @YaraWazir
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