rolling stone boston bomber article
terrorist - a person, usually a member of a group who uses or advocates terrorism; a person who terrorizes of frightens others.
What are your recollections of the Boston bombing? I remember seeing it on the news, I was quite shocked and concerned that a relative of mine who participated in the marathon might have been hurt. Other than that, it was just typical news to me, another unfortunate incident, another notch in history. It's not that I don't care or sympathize, it's just that in our modern world, bad things happen all the time and you sort of learn to grow numb. I think it's a normal coping mechanism to avoid going completely nuts.
Just like other similar occurences that happen in the world, I saw the Boston Bombings on the news and didn't give it any more thought until a friend of mine shared a page on Facebook which cited quite a compelling conspiracy theory behind the attack. It went so far as to accuse the US government of having a "secret branch" dedicated to creating havoc to mask/take the heat so they could get away with something "self-serving" without the media taking much notice. In this case, it was trying to pass a controversial new bill (I think). I'm sorry for being vague, like I said, this happened months ago and I never really took anything to heart, I just recalled all this because of the recent hype created by Rollling Stone magazine. Besides, it's not the reason why I decided to write this anyway. I am in no position to judge.
The reason why I am writing this is because of the amount of outrage this cover has created. From what I've grasped I think people are mostly offended and angry because they think that by putting Dzokhar Tsarnaev on the cover, they are romantacizing the criminal and encouraging kids to look up to him much like any other modern day rockstar.
This is where I see the problem.
A lot of people are choosing to categorize "Jahar" as a terrorist probably due to their ignorance, his ethnicity, Islam leanings and exotic name. I may be going on a limb here but I am pretty sure that most of the people who are "enraged" probably have not read the article yet and have just decided to join in on the bandwagon. I can't blame them. When I first heard of the cover, I was also very surprised. Not really enraged but I have to admit that some part of me also thought it was done in bad taste...until I actually read the story behind the controversial cover. (you can read it here)
Turns out, Jahar was just your average American kid who had multiple sets of friends, good grades, was captain of his wrestling team, smoked pot and liked to party. He was an average boy without any signs of being a hard-edged Muslim extremist. What Rolling Stone did was take Jahar away from the news headlines as being solely known as "The Boston Bomber", humanize him, and make people realize that this boy in fact had a normal life before he decided to turn things around for the worse.
After reading the article, I can't help but empathisize for this guy. I am by no means saying that what he allegedly did is justifiable. It is not. But I do believe that it was a by-product of his surroundings, circumstances, influences and upbringing.
This post goes out to all the misfits out there and their parents.
Growing up, there were numerous times when I felt like I didn't belong anywhere as well. Shuffled from house to house all the time didn't help. There just wasn't enough time to connect with anyone. It was during these years that I was most troubled and constantly searching for something tangible to relate to. Young and unguided, it usually resulted to trouble.
Being young equals to vulnerability. A sponge that quickly absorbs whatever it is closest to. A very dangerous stage that has the ability to mold your future. Teenage years also lend a false sense of indestructability. It's like you're in a bubble and can't fully grasp the gravity of certain situations. Sometimes it almost feels as if you're watching yourself from far away.
In my opinion, I think Jahar is less terrorist and more "Columbine shooter". He broke down as a result of too much stress. Unlike Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who decided to spray their school down with bullets, Jahar (allegedly) chose to bomb the Boston Marathon. It is because of this final act that he is widely labeled as a terrorist. It would be a totally different story if he decided to buy a gun instead.
The violent acts that resulted in both were influenced by what these individuals were exposed to. Islam = bombing, video games = shooting. I think the most important fact that we are missing here is what led them to do these things.
It is easy to just point fingers and accuse people but things usually happen for a reason. In both cases, traumatic occurences that were enough to push the red button for these kids. There are numerous triggers. Could be a child coming from a messy divorce, years of being bullied, physical or sexual abuse, extreme poverty, it could be anything. But one thing is for sure. It stems from pain. A deep pain that was not addressed properly.
There are many things that happen in this world that are beyond our control but there are also many things that we can prevent from happening by just learning to be a more sensitive people. As parents, we must remember that we are not the dictators of our children's lives, we are just their temporary guides and providers. As friends and contemporaries, we should avoid judging each other and just let all of us live the lives we want to. Money, power, pride and beauty are just temporary, passing things and shouldn't be the main focus of our lives.
I am not preaching, I am just hoping that all of us find a center, a group of people to surround us and make us feel like we belong. A group of people who will inspire us to be good and free of judgement and not the other way around. Let's try not to give each other labels. Let us all just be people living side by side harmoniously for a common goal, away from the dysotopian world that we are slowly turning into.
This is the realization that this Rolling Stone article has awoken in me. To embrace rather than to push away. I don't think it will encourage other kids to jump the gun and start terrorizing people as long as we equip them with the right foundation to face the harshness of the real world.
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