I have three links for you:
What made them suspect him? He was running—so was everyone. The police reportedly thought he smelled like explosives; his wounds might have suggested why. He said something about thinking there would be a second bomb—as there was, and often is, to target responders. If that was the reason he gave for running, it was a sensible one. He asked if anyone was dead—a question people were screaming. And he was from Saudi Arabia, which is around where the logic stops. Was it just the way he looked, or did he, in the chaos, maybe call for God with a name that someone found strange?
What happened next didn’t take long. “Investigators have a suspect—a Saudi Arabian national—in the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, The Post has learned.” That’s the New York Post, which went on to cite Fox News. The “Saudi suspect”—still faceless—suddenly gave anxieties a form.
Barhoum, a Moroccan immigrant who attends Revere High School outside Boston, apparently became aware yesterday that his photo was being linked to the bomb plot. In a Facebook post he assured his 1776 friends that “u will see guys I’m did not do anything.” Noting that “Shit is real,” Barhoum reported that he was going “to the court rightnow,” adding later that, “I’m just going to tell them that it was not me.”
A Palestinian woman said she was assaulted while taking a late morning stroll with her baby daughter and friend by a man who accused her of being a terrorist. We thought someone would’ve been publicly attacked and berated for secretly planning the Boston Marathon bombings within hours of the explosions, but nope — racists managed to contain themselves for two days. Bravo.
I was in San Diego back in September 2001. I remember the day of the attacks, and the news reports filled with stories about heroism and “the American spirit.” Which is great–people really do rise up in these kinds of moments and work to help out their fellow human beings. At least some do. But I also remember the reports about assaults on people who “looked like terrorists” (like this case, for example), and I remember how, in the following days, many people seemed to be overtaken by fear. Fear of terrorists and terrorism. Fear of anyone who looked “suspicious.” Fear of anyone who “looked different.” The moments of coming together quickly gave way to a sort of mass paranoia. And that reminds me of that old quote about the only thing we really have to fear is fear itself. It consumes people in a deep, irrational way. And there’s absolutely no excuse for the kinds of things that are done in the name of fear.
Ok, one last link. Check out this piece by Tim Wise: On White Privilege and the Boston Marathon Bombing.
*Hat tip to Paul Manning for posting some of these great links on FB.