This week, two horrific incidents unfolded in the news. The first is the Boston bombings that killed two people (including an eight-year-old boy), and left countless others maimed and injured. The second is yet another rape and torture in Delhi — this time of a five-year-old girl. These two incidents have left such a bitter taste in my mouth, and I find myself angry, yes, but also even more confounded by the violence and brutality of this world.
Until I turned on the TV while I had my ritual cup of tea this morning, I had no clue of the “firefight” in Watertown, Massachusetts, last night that left the first suspect in the Boston bombings dead. The second suspect is still at-large, and the city of Boston is essentially on lockdown until he is found.
These two suspects — brothers, actually — are of Chechen origin, and the motive behind the bombings is unknown. Bit by bit, the media is piecing together the portrait puzzle of these two. “Suspect #1,” now deceased, was 26, an aspiring Olympic-grade boxer and did not understand or have any American friends, after eight years of living in the U.S. “Suspect #2” is 19, likely injured after last night’s violence in Watertown, and all anyone can say about him was that he was a very nice, normal kid. As I watched the news and listened to what has been discovered, I wondered what could have happened to these two guys that would provoke them to commit this kind of act?
The suspects’ uncle, Ruslan, was interviewed, and he emphatically expressed his love for the U.S. and how the acts of these “losers” (his words, not mine) do not represent the feelings of most Chechens. On one hand, it’s an important point to make — that the actions of a few do not represent the collective — but it also made me sad, that in a way, this was their uncle’s pronouncement that, while hungry for justice, law-abiding, hardworking Chechens living in this country should not be targeted. They are not all terrorists, and no equation between the Boston bombings and an entire community should be made.
The passion and pride Uncle Ruslan expressed about living in the U.S. was palpable and would be familiar to any immigrant. It reminded me of the pride and gratitude my own parents feel towards this great country. After having traveled so much and lived in different places myself, I too feel the same pride. It kind of broke my heart to see those sentiments in juxtaposition against what his family members have done.
Without a doubt, these are hard times we live in, where if you are unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you can become a victim of a heinous crime. This brings me to the little girl in Delhi, who lies in critical condition in a city hospital, recovering from the damage done to her. She was just playing near her home when she was kidnapped and subsequently brutalized for days.
Just as the Delhi gang-rape did, I’m outraged by this latest incident. Perhaps even more so because this is a little girl who should be able to play near her home safely. The volume of rape cases that are reported in Indian media is astounding and disheartening, but rape and brutality are not exclusively Indian problems. What makes any man or boy think it’s okay to treat a member of the opposite sex like a garbage rag doll?
In the case of India, the government isn’t doing enough; the police aren’t either — there are reports that they didn’t take the pleas of this girl’s parents seriously to help them find their daughter. I don’t know what the solution is, and I won’t pretend to know. All I can hope is that people from all walks of life will rally together and find an amenable solution for their respective communities, so that all are safe.
This compilation of sad moments that we see playing in front of us are hard, and they are becoming more commonplace. It’s enough to make me wonder why I would even want to have children: what kind of world would I be bringing them into? But then, I see something beautiful, be it my loved ones, signs of spring or an act of simple kindness, and I’m reminded that there is good. There is always good if you look for it, and that must mean something.
In light of these incidents — past, present and future — some of us may be able to carry on with sympathy in our hearts and on our lips, and others of us may take it more to heart. The only comfort I can truly find is gratitude for the life I have been given, for the blessings I have been bestowed: never take the big or small victories in daily life for granted. And always try to make things better in any which way I can.