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REFLECTION

As the cities of Boston, Cambridge & Watertown, and the educational institutions of M.I.T., Tufts, and University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth are moving towards a “new normal”, there are still many thoughts of confusion. Confusion isn’t the word that is being used in mainstream media. Words like “Islamic Terrorists” and “Jihadist” are the popular words used to describe the tragedy of 15 APRIL 2013. Emotions such as anger and sadness are expressed. These emotions are natural. These emotions are supposed to be expressed. The question is: Is there a point where we go too far?

keep-calm-and-blame-someone-else-14We, as a people, are moving in a direction of blame. Who’s fault is it? I have heard the following answers:

– “It’s Obama’s fault
because he is too soft on profiling!”

– “It’s our fault
because we let these Muslims into our
country!”

– “It’s the FBI’s fault
because ‘Suspect #1’ was on the federal radar back in
2011!”

However, outside of these statements, there is a small contingency of people knew these men. They lived in the same neighborhood, when to school with, related to, and in one case, married to (one of) these men. These individuals are left confused. One of my relatives, who went to high school with Tamerlan Tsarnaev (the older brother referred to as “Suspect #1”) is one of those who are confused. He wrote the following on Facebook:

“Feeling a lot of strange emotions today…not knowing either to be ecstatic for the police killing one of the bombers, a terrorist against the well being of my people…or either to mourn the death of someone I once called my friend…”

He is not alone in this confusion. On the day of the multi-city shutdown, a reporter caught up with Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s boxing/mixed martial arts trainer. On the outset, he was not responding to the reporters questions. He made a quick b-line to his vehicle. Before entering the car, he stopped and looked at the reporter, and said something along the lines of “No, I didn’t think he would do something like that.”

Katherine Russell, the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and the mother of their 2 year old daughter, is also speechless. She is receiving scrutiny because she states that she did not know that he was planning the attack with his younger brother. The brother’s aunt, Maret Tsarnaev, who resides in Toronto, states that she wants proof that it was her nephews that committed the terrorist attack. She is definitely in a lot of emotional pain and confusion. It is the only way to explain her reluctance to accept the truth regardless of the evidence presented thus far.

In conclusion, the purpose of this post isn’t to garner sympathy for the Tsarnaev brothers, but rather to see that there is another side to this tragedy. It does not overshadow the 4 innocent lives lost (Richard, Campbell, Lu, and Collier), but it does shed light on those who knew the men, and are left with the uncomfortable position of mourning for all involved and are confused about how to cope.

-JMH+