On Boston

For all the gruesome shock and horror associated with the bombings yesterday, I can’t help but keep thinking about the young man, injured from the bombs, who was, for a while, the only “suspect” anyone in America knew about- the “young Saudi national”. The press was clearly under some pressure to release something amidst the chaos, lest they cause a panic or lose their credibility altogether (after all, everyone in the media wants to be the first and loudest). Otherwise I don’t think we would’ve heard about this “young Saudi national”, who went from being a “person of interest” to a “suspect” to a victim in something like 18 hours, or less maybe. And he’s a victim of the bombings like all the other victims who were rushed to the hospital to be treated, a marathon runner among the thousands that ran and the 123 injured, except for that he was called into questioning, or in custody, or something (we’ll probably never be sure). Because he’s also a victim of racial profiling.

Can you even begin to imagine? On top of the chaos of the race and the bomb and the shrapnel in your body and the hospital- to be insulted by a disgusting and ungrounded accusation by someone somewhere, and then pressed to answer questions about it. Meanwhile, your roommate is being interrogated at your home and the chorus of national news media is citing a new alias for you every minute – “unidentified Saudi national” “young Saudi male” “Saudi Arabian student”… “suspect”. All while you recover from wounds sustained from an explosion at an athletic competition.

It’s incredible to me.

Amy Davidson at The New Yorker does a better job than me at articulating any thought that goes through my head, her piece is magnificent:

It might be comforting to think of this as a blip, an aberration, something that will be forgotten tomorrow—if not by this young man. There are people at Guanátanmo who have also been cleared by our own government, and are still there… The F.B.I. said that they would “go to the ends of the earth” to get the Boston perpetrators. One wants them to be able to go with their heads held high.”