Friday, April 19, 2013

Collateral Damage

A good friend of mine ran the Boston marathon this year.  Her husband and four children (ranging in age from 8 months to ten years) were at the finish line to cheer her on, apparently standing very close to what turned out to be the detonation zone.  Luckily for them, my friend finished about half an hour before the explosions, and her family was well out of harm's way by the time they occurred.  So many were not so fortunate.  

I'm glad they got the one miserable cowardly bastard already.  May he rot in hell.  I hope they catch the other one alive, string him up by his genitals, draw and quarter him, and then bury him upside down in pig entrails.  But because of what he himself has done, not because he is Muslim.

When I heard of the attacks, my first guess was that the bombers were Muslim.  But a good part of me hoped that they were not, that this was a domestic act akin to the Oklahoma City bombings.

I've written before about one of my heroes.  She teaches our taekwondo classes on Fridays, and she is a devout, headscarf-wearing Muslim married to the imam of the local mosque and one of the coolest women I know.  She was also as appalled and horrified and devastated by the attacks in Boston as I was.  But unlike me, because some Chechnyan nutjob radicals who happened to be nominally of her faith (extremism being as different from mainstream Islam as it is) decided to make a violent political statement this week, she now has to worry about her own safety and that of her husband and children.      

She has two sons and a daughter.  Her daughter, who is a freshman at the local public high school, wears the hijab (headscarf) as well, and she is one of very few at the school who do.  Talk about having a bulls-eye on her back.  Can you imagine how hard it must have been for that child to walk through the front doors on Tuesday morning?  Or today, God forbid?  How much snide whispering she's hearing?  How many unacceptable comments about her family and her faith?

To say that the terrorists speak for all Muslims would be somewhat equivalent to saying that Sarah Palin speaks for all Americans.  There's a spectrum, and Palin is way the hell off on the looney bin end of it.  Just like these Chechnyans and their other extremist brethren.

Bu that's the point that I'm afraid is going to be lost, and why I hoped this was not another 9/11 situation.  We are capable of making the distinction between individual madness and the viewpoints of the general population when dealing with the familiar, but not so much with the unfamiliar.  And nobody is well served by a witch hunt directed against the unfamiliar, especially the innocents among the unfamiliar.      


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