Boston blasts: Horrendous, heart rending

Mostafa Kamal MajumderThe death of three people and injury of 170 others in twin blasts in the 117-year old Boston marathon on Monday has scared not only the people of the US but also right thinking people all over the world about the vulnerability of life.The dead included schoolboy 8-year-old Martin Richard, golden girl restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, and a Chinese citizen who was a Boston University graduate student. The first explosion went off close to the finish line at about 14:50 local time (18:50 GMT) on Monday and the second four minutes later about 200 yards away.
The Associated Press quoted a source close to the investigation as saying that the bombs consisted of explosives placed in 1.6-gallon pressure cookers, one with shards of metal and ball bearings, and the other with nails. The bombs were put into black bags and left on the ground, the source said. Doctors treating the wounded say their injuries indicate that the bombs contained metal shards and other shrapnel. A number of victims have had limbs amputated.
The more frightening aspect of the tragedy is that senior FBI agents investigating the case have said, “The investigation is in its infancy. There are no claims of responsibility and the range of suspects and motives remains wide open.” They have urged people to report anyone they had seen acting suspiciously.
President Obama has condemned the bombings as a terrorist act. He has said the attack was “heinous and cowardly” but stressed it was not yet known whether an organisation – either domestic or foreign – or a “malevolent individual” was responsible, nor what the motive might have been. “Everything else at this point is speculation,” he said. “It will take time… but we will find whoever harmed our citizens and we will bring them to justice.”
The air of desperation is clear. Only four months ago on 14 December last twenty school-children were slaughtered by a heavily armed gunman who opened fire at a suburban elementary school in Connecticut ultimately killing at least 27 people including himself in the one of the worst mass shootings in US history.
Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, in twin attacks on 22 July 2011 slaughtered 77 people in the country’s worst peacetime massacre,.
While the perpetrators of the Connecticut and Norwegian massacres were immediately identified and they also confessed to the crimes, those responsible for the Boston marathon bombings have remained unidentified even after three days of the brutal attack on a noble marathon, world’s oldest, which has been participated by amateurs as well as professional runners from all over the world.
Clearly, the perpetrators of the latest crime, as those of Connecticut and Norway, are most likely to be homegrown in the US which have fought a global war on terrorism since September 2001. While the Connecticut massacre has been blamed on easy availability of weapons to civilians in the US, and Anders Behring Breivik, the slaughterer of 77 Norwegians have been found mentally unbalanced; there are symptoms that the Boston blasts were executed in a very planned way. And the target was a world famous marathon event involving not only sportsmen but also families with children.
As the world’s lone superpower with the strongest intelligence outfits, the US should very closely scrutinise this latest violence that has no parallel. What motive could be there to fatally attack a noble race just before its finis? Do the US and the rest of the world face a new form of terrorism? Firm answers to these questions should be found not only to comfort the families of the dead and the injured and the shocked participants of the marathon, but also the average people who would otherwise feel that life has become fragile.
Somehow, and for reasons to be seriously searched, the growing violence and human rights violations in America are matters of concern all over the world.
(First published in The New Nation, Dhaka)

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