By now you have heard many of the details of the tragic and unexplainable bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Inspiring tales of human spirit, bravery, and resilience have been coming out of Boston – like that of Carlos Arredondo.
Heartbreaking tales abound as well as the victim’s names were released this morning, among them 8 year old Martin Richard, who was just there to see his dad finish the race.
And then there is the story of the Saudi student who was a spectator at the Marathon. Many may disagree after reading the piece, but his treatment was not of the heroic tales coming out of Bean Town. Although it points to an understandable fear and panic in many respects, it also shows us how far we really have to go in this world, just how much we have to grow as a society.
I ask those that think the young Saudi’s treatment was justified, even fair, what if that was your son, brother, relative, friend? What if he was a kid ‘barely out his teens,’ studying in a land where is a minority, where there are preconceived notions about Americans? What if he was the one hurt in the blast, bleeding, scared, and running? Would you have wanted him to be helped up to the hospital or tackled to the ground?
“Was it just the way he looked, or did he, in the chaos, maybe call for God with a name that someone found strange?”
I know from personal experience there are many non-Muslim South Asians who think, ‘well, obviously we are different. That would never happen to one of us. Hindus are not…the same’ Overwhelming evidence of extremism in the subcontinent aside, what makes you think ‘Allah’ sounds any more ‘strange’ in that chaos than ‘Rama,’ ‘Narayana,’ ‘Bhagvan,’ or any of the other myriad of names for the higher being shouted to the sky in times of fear?
I’m not pointing that out as a prediction or incitement, I’m genuinely asking. Isn’t it just better that we all work at not making ‘strange’ and ‘scary’ the same?