America / Travel

It Has to Be Said (about the Boston Marathon)

A tragic thing happened yesterday. More than 100 people were critically injured in the Boston Marathon yesterday afternoon when two bombs exploded. The death toll isn’t official, but it’s estimated that at least three died, one of which was an eight year old boy. May they all rest in peace.

Perhaps the biggest question circling the bombings is who did it and why. Last night, news outlets reported a 20-something male Saudi here on a student visa was in custody and authorities were in the process of questioning him. Today it was reported he has been let go and is no longer a suspect.

I just logged onto my Facebook and saw this post from my local news station.

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To the person who posted that second comment: Are you kidding me?! In case you can’t see it clearly enough, it says:

“Having 10-20,000 Saudis, Iranians, and Iraqis in my country is making me uneasy.”

In the news I am constantly reading comments from people who are saddened to hear there is still racism in this country, and then I turn around and see comments like this from the exact same people! We think just because there aren’t separate bathrooms and restaurants for black people that racism doesn’t still exist. I get it. We’re all on the defense and automatically assume this bombing is a terrorist attack because of past events. But what if it wasn’t?! Everyone is so damn eager to jump to negative, racist conclusions.

What kills me is everyone who attacked the Saudi man just because he was Saudi! Oh yeah, and he was running away from the bombs. But hel-lo! What person wouldn’t be running away from the bombings? If we’re pointing fingers just at those who were running away from the explosions, why aren’t we pointing fingers at all the white people who were running away too? Your skin color doesn’t have to be different for a tragic and senseless act to happen – just look at the Newtown shootings.

One thing I am always saying to people whenever they question my desire to go to the Middle East is that just because a group of people from a country (e.g. Iraq) want to fight us, that does not mean the entire country does. I know there are plenty of Americans who don’t want to be fighting this war. Why is it so hard to believe another country’s citizens might not all be on its leaders’ side?

Schools should teach a hostility prevention class or something. If I ever have kids, I know I will be teaching them not to fear everyone from another country. If we’re still living in fear that a Saudi man or Iranian student might be doing something suspicious just because they are Saudi or Iranian, then we have not made as much of a stride toward progress as we like to think we have.

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