The Boston bombing and hope for peace

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The Boston bombing and hope for peace

by Mari Marcel Thekaekara


The Boston bombing has made Mari Marcel Thekaekara think. hahatang, under a CC License

I keep thinking about the family of the eight-year-old child, Martin Richard, killed by the Boston blast on Monday 15 April and his injured mother, Denise. A six–year-old child, his sister Jane, is still seriously ill. A family’s life has been destroyed. Many people will now always think about the Boston Marathon, a symbol of beauty and strength with sadness and anger.

I can’t understand the mentality of terrorists. They hurt innocent people in this useless, cowardly action. In Tamil Nadu where I live, people are passionate about many things. Many young men have covered themselves with petrol. It is quite common to burn your body in a public place to bring attention to something. Men have burnt themselves, an extremely painful death, for the glory of the Tamil language, or in terrible sadness because the Chief Minister, their adored leader, has died.

And of course, there is the female suicide bomber Dhanu. She was inspired by the Tamil Tigers to give flowers to, and then blow up Rajiv Gandhi, our much-loved Prime Minister. His mother Indira Gandhi, our ‘Iron Lady’, had a similar violent death. She was shot many times by her personal Sikh body guards as an act of revenge after the desecration of the Golden Temple.

I was talking about how I could not understand this. I was talking about how cowardly men are who kill little children and innocent people. ‘Cowardly bastards’, I said. Someone, a more rational person than me, quietly said, ‘does the world ever count the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you talk with so much passion about the countless children who are killed and injured in these countries?’

I was so shocked, I was silent. ‘An unjust war was started when Bush first bombed Iraq for oil. 9\11 had nothing to do with Iraq. The country has been destroyed. In over 100 years the British couldn’t control Afghanistan. It was crazy to start a war with those people for no reason. Terror causes more terror. And violence causes more violence.

India is full of violence now. Gandhi believed that non-violence was an important part of planning, not just important morally. He knew that, in the struggle for independence, we could never be equal to the killing machines of the government. Always, with no exceptions, the state claims its power is right. The army kills legally. Everyone who is against the state are the enemy. They must be killed.

I can never see a good enough reason for the killing of an innocent child. In Boston or New York, Baghdad or Kabul. All are senseless tragedies to me.

We can only pray, and hope desperately, that the forces for peace, work together to change the endless cycle of terrible violence. So that little children can walk on the streets again, and play in the parks and outside, as they did a few decades ago. As I write this, I feel useless and helpless. Words are not enough.

We need to take strength from the survivors, the fighters. From the peacemakers who dare to continue when the world is full of sadness and hopelessness. We cannot give up hope. This will not help the parents, or families of the victims, but it’s all we have.

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