Saturday, April 20, 2013
Just as the tremendously hectic week in Boston comes to an end, some of the words of President Obama summarize the situation: “…There are many questions to answer…” along with the inicial reluctance to call the marathon bombings “terrorism”.
The who, the how and the why will be the object of interpretations by journalists and pundits in the public side, while the governments agencies will work their way through the facts and come out with their own interpretations to set policies and politics. Then it will take historical time to put everything together and give some sense to what seems really a senseless chain of events.
“Terrorism” has become a much abused word in the line “anarchism” was back one hundred years ago: socio-political violence, both autonomous or in response to complex historical situations. From magnicides, such as Lincoln’s, Gavrilo Princip shooting of Austrian Archduke in Sarajevo in 1914, Spain’s Calvo Sotelo murder in 1936, JFK, Martin Luther King or Robert Kennedy, all the way to the 9/11 WTC towers. Oklahoma City in 1995 or the Madrid bombings in March 11, 2003 and the recent Boston marathon encompass thousands and thousands of shootings and bombings. In the Balkans (everywhere), Italy (Red Brigades), Cyprus (EOKA), Iraq (Gulf wars and aftermath), Syria (current), Yemen, Israel (from 1930’s Haganah and Irgun to Intifada and Hezbolah), Pakistan, India, VietNam, Nicaragua, Spain’s ETA, SouthAfrica… and many more. Or more singular episodes such as Columbine, Utøya Island or Dunblane (Scotland) and Newtown (Conn).
The perpetrators may be deranged people, politically or religiously motivated. But in all cases is the use of violence against others with a half-baked purpose and blurry motivation.
The questions of how two ethnic Chechens living in America for a long time, come to prepare and carry on bombings in a public event with no obvious political objective may be difficult to answer. The six-month stay in Russia by the oldest of the two just last year and the statement by their father they have been shortchanged by secret foreign intelligence, may point to some more “political” origin. The obvious lack of escape plans and financial support that prompted the capture events point towards “lone wolf” activity. The social background just frames the psychological profile of people with utter disregard for the lives of their fellow men.
Whatever comes out of it, mid April 2013 will join many other date episodes to include in the long history of violence to be looked upon with regret and sorrowfulness.