Unwilling to Listen, Unable to Hear: Thoughts on the Boston Marathon Bombing
By Lynn Feinerman
On April 20, 2013, days after the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon event, President Obama asked: “Why did young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence?”
Media reported that on April 22, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two brothers accused in the bombings, answered Obama’ s question. He stated they bombed the event in reaction to U.S. attacks on Islam.
Is Obama listening to that answer? How does he interpret it? Are the mainstream media, and in particular Fox News’ Erik Rush, listening to that answer?
I don’t think Erik Rush is listening. I doubt, in fact, that the Obama administration is listening to that answer… heeding the message. And innocent U.S. citizens are paying the price.
There is an old saying, from the Taoist book the I Ching: “He who will not heed will be made to feel.” In what way might we understand that the U.S. government, and this president at this time, have not heeded?
Before we conclude that speculation such as this is blaming the victim, let us review recent U.S. behavior toward the very large Muslim community worldwide.
It is clear from the chronicles of Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and other prison sites worldwide that U.S. operatives have been in the habit of pissing on Qur’ans, flushing them down toilets, insulting the dignity of Muslim prisoners, torturing them and detaining them without trial – in some cases for over a decade – in what appear, in retrospect, to be deliberate provocations of Muslim rage.
Let us examine the situation at the Guantanamo detention facility – currently the most glaring case in point. In this facility, which Obama vowed to close back in 2009, reside 86 men who were cleared for release from that hellhole three years ago. Almost all of them Muslim. Under the provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act the President can release these men and get them repatriated. Instead, he abruptly closed the office that was arranging their repatriation – and left them in a limbo of indefinite detention.
I repeat: These men have been cleared for release – years ago. One of them, Adnan Latif, died last September after eleven years of imprisonment without trial. He had been cleared for release. He was totally innocent of any crime.
In desperation these men have gone on hunger strike, and have refused to eat or drink for months. The U.S. response? To force these innocent men to submit to searches of their Korans, and to force feed them. Read the editorial published nationwide from Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, one of the hunger strikers, to get an idea of how these prisoners are force fed – with tubes that are too large for the job, in abject misery and pain.
Then the U.S. military raided the Guantanamo prison and attacked the men, who reportedly fought back with improvised weapons. What weapons?! Brooms? Plastic bottles? And how much damage could the prisoners have done in their weakened states?
The cruelty of U.S. policy and actions toward these Muslims is beyond reckoning. Clearly the U.S. is not listening to any sort of moral voice in its execution of such policy and action. Clearly the U.S. is not heeding the misery of these prisoners.
We know quite well from the reportage that the same kind of cruelty was customary in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know that drone attacks have caused horrific death and injury in Pakistan. Do we heed the mass demonstrations in Pakistan against drones?
Do we heed the heroic efforts of the Guantanamo prisoners and their lawyers, to wrest a shred of justice from the U.S. government?
The answer is no. The U.S. government and military complex is unwilling to listen, to listen deeply, to the cries of those whom it has slaughtered, wounded, detained, tormented and ruined.
From this willful deafness come the retaliations, and the acts of vengeance against the U.S. Then the sick mainstream media, Fox in particular, twist the facts and blubber about how “they envy our lifestyle.” Feh! What a disgrace Fox News is.
Let me say this one more time, Mr. Obama: Close Guantanamo and all other such facilities worldwide and bring justice and healing to all whom the U.S. has detained without trial and tortured. End the policy of hateful insult and injury to Muslims.
Will these words, this advice, be heeded? I doubt it.