The other day, I looked behind me at work to find a group of people gathered in a semi-circle around one of my colleague’s screens watching a video. Turns out, our boss was introducing my coworker to Carol Burnett. It was Tim Conway’s epic elephant story.
When events like the Boston Marathon Bombings happen, I suppose you could say my family has a rather unusual reaction, but following 9/11, who could blame us?
At work, my colleagues and I followed news of the bombings and its aftermath all day, each of us affected in his or her own way. Racing through my mind, a shamefully selfish thought that I was a little relieved to find out my mother was thinking also. Half jokingly, half seriously:
“God I hope it wasn’t one of us …”
By “one of us”, my mother and I implicitly agreed, we meant Arabs, we meant muslims.
Following the news of the bombings, I had almost begun to convince myself that the person or people behind this were definitely more of the “James Holmes, Aurora, Colardo’s Batman shooter” variety, than of the “one of us” variety.
As events unfolded, as Waterton was put on lockdown, as the manhunt ensued, I grew increasingly dejected … I never expected that the media would become privy to a new face of fundamentalist Islam.
Sadly now, I can already hear the aftermath of terrorism at work, “those Chechens, you better watch out for them”.
Whether we like it or not, this is the kind of news that changes our views not just of specific culprits, of a specific religion, but of a people. It’s an inevitable part of the fallout of these kinds of horrific events. It’s the leftover mental & emotional residue that leaves a strong bad taste in our mouths.
I’m not saying we’ll all think this way, that we’ll all suddenly have these prejudices, but as history has been loathe to repeat itself, fundamentalist acts are almost always countered by some kind of homegrown zealotry.
This is the stuff wars, hot or cold, are made of, and though the evil-doers have been captured, we have yet to see the true global implications of their actions.
To those who share my faith’s dismay, Muslim extremism has a new face, a new language, perhaps even a new country to call home. Only time will tell whether capturing the Tsarnaev brothers was enough to quell the flames, or whether it has inspired a new rallying cry.
Either way, I can speak for my mother, myself and likely a lot of fello Muslims when I say: “Well done, boys. You’ve really fucked us over, all over again.”
Ethan is a gorgeous eight year old, blonde Mowgli look-a-like with a head full of wisdom. I was fortunate enough, on a little break from our day of sunning and swimming, to get some insight into his thoughts on life and the universe in general.