21 April 2013


I feel sad for all the people involved in both the Boston bombings and the West fertilizer-plant explosion. I feel empathy for the people who were killed, those injured, and even those who just happened to be in the area. Even if not physically affected, they are mentally affected -- which can often be just as bad.

Of all the people connected to these events, you know who I feel the most sorrow for? Ruslan Tsarni -- an uncle of the two Boston bombers.

I suppose this might come as a bit of a shock. Why don't I feel the most sorrow for the people who died? Or the people permanently injured?

Fair enough. But, put yourself in the place of the uncle:

You're sitting at home, minding your own business and you see a television report showing the suspected bombers and you recognize BOTH of the bombers as relatives. You are an immigrant to America, you love your new country as much as you love your heritage and here you are: faced with such a horrible action taken by people you know and are related to.

Tsarni could have stayed in his house, cowered in a corner for fear someone would find out that he was related to the suspects. What did he do? He appeared in front of national media, told everyone who he was and his relationship to the suspects and implored them to turn themselves in. He stressed that the suspects -- his nephews -- brought shame to their family, shame to their home country, shame to their status as immigrants.

Some have dismissed his actions as a clever public-relations ploy. Perhaps it was. But perhaps it was another example of one or two people bringing shame to an entire class of immigrants. History is replete with stories of immigrant parents disowning their children for doing something that brought shame to their nationality. This is nothing new. For many immigrants, it matters to them that they "do the right thing" as American residents or new American citizens. They want to prove that they are worthy of being an "American."

It took a lot of courage for Tsarni to put himself square in the public focus like he did. I sincerely hope all the other Americans who heard his pleas understand that the guilty are not "immigrants," they are not "Islamists," they are not "Chechens." The guilty are the people who placed the bombs that did the damage.

You can read more about Tsarni here.

No comments: