Tag Archives: Arab Americans

Boston bombers were tweeners — homegrown and from Chechen region

This combination of undated photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The FBI says the two brothers and suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during a getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left Tamerlan dead and Dzhokhar still at large on Friday, April 19, 2013. The ethnic Chechen brothers lived in Dagestan, which borders the Chechnya region in southern Russia. They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, one of their uncles reported said. (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun & Robin Young)

Associated Press image

Brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, right, have been identified by law-enforcement authorities as the probable perpetrators of Monday’s twin bomb blasts during the Boston Marathon that killed three and maimed many others. The brothers came to the United States from the area of war-torn Chechnya about a decade ago. The older brother was shot dead by police and the younger brother remains on the run. Despite having expressed his support of Chechen independence from Russia and his support of Islam, the younger brother on a social networking website reportedly listed his “personal priority” as “career and money.”

So the Boston Marathon bombing apparently was indeed an act of domestic terrorism, but the apparent terrorists weren’t anyone we had suspected.

Those on the right, apparently, were hoping for an Arab terrorist or Arab terrorists, fitting in nicely and neatly with the 9/11 scenario (15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, and the rest from Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates [not one of them was from Iraq, I will add]).

There was the 20-year-old Saudi man — a college student — who was tackled by a bystander at the site of the Boston Marathon just after the twin explosions on Monday because of course the Arab-looking man in the crowd was the perpetrator (of course this young man was not the perp).

The right-wing rag the New York Post (which, along with Faux “News,” is owned by right-wing plutocrat Rupert Murdoch) yesterday ran a cover image of a 17-year-old high school track athlete (the one in blue with the blue duffel bag in the image below) and called him a suspect in the Boston bombing when he never was a suspect at all. The other “bombing suspect” in the image that the Post ran on its cover (the man with the black backpack) actually is the student’s 24-year-old track coach.

new york post

But the high-school athlete and his coach, who are from Morocco, look like the usual suspects — here is another image of them that the Post published, encircling their faces with big, red, attention-grabbing rings:

— and that, for the Post, was enough.

I hope that the young men wrongfully called terrorism suspects because they were At the Boston Marathon While Arab sue the Post for libel.

I, on the other hand, had figured that the perpetrator or perpetrators of Monday’s bombing in Boston probably were along the lines of a Zeke or Jeb or Cooter or Skeeter, a homegrown, white, “tea-partying,” anti-federal-government-and-so-of-course-also-anti-tax type, such as we saw with Timothy McVeigh. I mean, a bombing on Tax Day in Boston, home of the Boston Tea Party.

It turns out that the actual probable perps of the bombing apparently are somewhere between the two stereotypical terrorist types of the “Islamofascist” from abroad and the terrorist from home. There is more to be learned, but that’s where it stands right now.

The probable perps of Monday’s terrorist attack in Boston reportedly were two brothers from the area of Chechnya (also called the Chechen Republic, which is part of Russia), Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan, 26, reportedly was shot dead during a police shootout that took place in Boston between yesterday, when the brothers’ surveillance-camera images were released by the FBI, and early this morning, and Dzhokhar, 19, a student at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, reportedly still is on the run. I hope that he is captured alive so that we learn more about the motives behind the bombing.

Being an American, I don’t know much about Chechnya, but there is Wikipedia, a blogger’s best friend, and from Wikipedia I see that Chechnya has a population of less than 2 million people, and that racially, the denizens of Chechnya are grouped as “Caucasoid,” Wikipedia notes, adding, “The majority of Chechens are dark-haired (medium to dark brown or black), but there are Chechens with blond or even red hair, while eye color ranges from blue to brown and skin tone is typically rather pale and light (though there are some Chechens with olive complexions).”

Arabs, anthropologically speaking, also are “Caucasoid,” but apparently among the Chechens there are some who look Anglo (all Anglos are “Caucasoid,” but not all who are “Caucasoid” are Anglo).

The right-wingers no doubt feel vindicated, however,  over the fact that (per Wikipedia) “Islam is the predominant religion in Chechnya. Chechens are overwhelmingly adherents to Sunni Islam, the country having converted to Islam between the 16th and the 19th centuries.”

But Chechens aren’t Arabs, the usual terrorism suspects in the eyes of many if not most Americans, and reportedly the Tsarnaev brothers came to the United States about decade ago as refugees from the war-torn Chechnya.

Because they (have) lived in the United States for about a decade, and because they came here when they were young, I still would call the Tsarnaev brothers homegrown terrorists, but, of course, not of the usual variety of homegrown terrorists.

My guess is that the older Tsarnaev brother influenced the younger, and that the older brother was quite unstable and the younger brother was quite impressionable, as younger brothers often are.

Yahoo! News notes that Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly had a wife and young child and that “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was remembered by former classmates as bright and personable, posted links to pro-Chechnyan independence sites on his social media page, and listed his worldview as ‘Islam.'”

Yahoo! News also reports that “in an emotional press conference,” the brothers’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, “said his nephews had brought shame upon his family, and called them ‘losers.’ He said they were not ‘able to settle themselves’ and were ‘angry at everyone who was able to.’ He said he did not believe they were motivated by the radical politics in Chechnya or their Muslim religion.”

Again, hopefully the younger brother will be captured alive and will tell us exactly what happened and why. His role might have been only as an accessory to his much more radicalized older brother, it seems to me.

The take-home lesson in all of this, it also seems to me, is that any chronically angry young man, foreign or domestic, white-skinned or brown-skinned, identifying as a Muslim or a Christian (or as a member of another religion), can perpetrate an act violence or even of terrorism — chronic anger and testosterone are a dangerous, explosive mix — and that the best way to prevent terrorist attacks in the future is to address, seriously and significantly, that which causes chronic anger in young men.

Chief among those causes here at home, it seems to me, is a lack of economic opportunity in the United States of America. In the so-called land of opportunity, our young people are struggling. And, despite their hard work and their struggle, they are told that their lack of progress is entirely their fault — certainly not the fault of the plutocratic system of the haves and the have-nots that actually has their failure built in, that has institutionalized it, pretty much guaranfuckingteed it, in fact.

Before you claim that I’m full of shit, know that while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (according to Reuters) on his Russian-language social networking website posted links to websites promoting Islam and Chechen independence from Russia, he listed his “personal priority” as “career and money.”

So while his Chechen birth gave him an identity as a Chechen/Chechen American and a Muslim, his most immediate personal concern apparently was “career and money.”

And over that issue, it seems to me, we Americans, who forfuckingever now have been perfectly complacent with our system of haves and have-nots that eats its own young, should be surprised — and probably thankful — that justifiably chronically angry young men of all identities in the United States aren’t blowing shit up all over the fucking place.

P.S. I have to note that while I find the pervasive presence of surveillance cameras in public to pose real threats to privacy, and to create an oppressive, Big-Brother-like atmosphere, one has to be impressed, I think, by the swiftness with which the apparent perpetrators of Monday’s terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon were identified by law-enforcement officials.

Once the FBI released the surveillance-camera images of the two suspects yesterday, it was just a matter of time before they were identified as the Tsarnaev brothers.

Update: I want to be accurate, so let me clarify: Apparently the Tsarnaev brothers might have come to the United States from Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, and the brothers are (well, one is and one was…), according to media reports, “ethnic Chechens.” I am not certain of the exact nation of the brothers’ birth, but apparently they were born in one or both of the two neighboring nations of Chechnya and Dagestan.

Per Wikipedia, Dagestan has a population of about 3 million and, like Chechnya, its primary religion is Sunni Islam.

From Wiki, here is a map of Chechnya and Dagestan:

And here is a map of the larger area, known as the North Caucasus:

File:Chechnya and Caucasus.png

Second update: According to NBC News, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was born in Kyrgyzstan and became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 11 of last year, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was married to a U.S. citizen and had hoped to become a U.S. citizen himself, was born in Russia. The Associated Press reports that

Dzhokhar’s page on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte says that before moving to the United States, he attended School No. 1 in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus that has become an epicenter of the Islamic insurgency that spilled over from Chechnya. On the site, he describes himself as speaking Chechen as well as English and Russian.

The same AP story also reports that the two brothers “had come to the United States about 10 years ago from a Russian region near Chechnya [Dagestan, I presume], according to an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md. They had two sisters. As kids they rode bikes and skateboards on quiet Norfolk Street in Cambridge, Mass.”

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McCarthyesque hearings only show that Islamophobia is a problem

Peter King

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman King ...

Associated Press and Reuters photos

My terrorism is better than your terrorism: Because he is Irish American, the Irish Republican Army is not a terrorist group, according to Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Rep. Peter King, who has supported the IRA even while in Congress. The U.S. State Department, however, classifies the IRA as a terrorist group, which would make King a terrorist sympathizer — yet he is judging others on their alleged support of terrorism. King is pictured above in Washington, D.C., today. Below is what Reuters reports is a close-up photo of the lapel pin that King quite unfuckingbelievably is wearing today as he presides over his “fair and balanced” hearings on Islamic “terrorism” in the United States.

A lapel pin depicting the World Trade Center ...

Reuters photo

Wow.

Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Rep. Peter King, the ringleader of the McCarthyesque hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives on how much of a threat Muslim Americans pose to us (it is a foregone conclusion that they pose a threat to us, you see), has been a vocal opponent* of the so-called “Ground-Zero mosque,” yet he is presiding over “hearings” on this issue that he claims are fair and balanced — while he wears a lapel pin depicting the twin towers, the U.S. flag and the mindless post-9/11 slogan, “United we stand.”

When called to the carpet on the blatantly offensive nature of King’s prejudiced, discriminatory “hearings,” King proclaimed that “To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness.” 

Wow.

Where it comes to Israel and the Zionists (the Israel-firsters), the vast majority of the members of the Repugnican Tea Party — and, to be fair and balanced, the majority of the members of spineless Democratic Party — can’t be politically correct enough. Even when Israel slaughters scores of innocent Muslim civilians — and when it comes to slaughtering innocent Muslim civilians, Israel is surpassed only by the United States** — to criticize Israel’s actions, no matter how heinous, is beyond taboo, and essentially is equated to Holocaust-denying anti-Semitism.

But no political correctness for the Muslims! declares King, proving his bias and his utter unfitness for the role of arbitrating on the issue of Islamic “terrorism.”

I use quotation marks there because when the same actions are committed by groups that King and his ilk approve of, it’s never called terrorism, but is called “self-defense” or the like. King supported the Irish Republican Army even while in Congress, but because he supports the members of the IRA (King is Irish American), their actions are not terrorism, you see.

(The U.S. State Department classifies the IRA as a terrorist group, perhaps rightfully or perhaps because of the U.S. government’s longstanding partnership in crime with Britain. I’m not sure. I’m just stating the facts that the U.S. government has deemed the IRA as a terrorist group, and King has supported the IRA even while in Congress.)

With these nationally embarrassing “hearings” on Islamic “terrorism,” King and his wingnutty ilk plainly are grandstanding for personal political gain in the name of national security — just as Joseph McCarthy, another wonderful Irish American, did. These Repugnican Tea Party traitors miss the “good old days” when Islamophobia gave the unelected, treasonous Bush regime a seemingly endlessly supply of political capital and political cover to shove their right-wing agenda down the throat of the shell-shocked nation.

What if some very brave, very fair and balanced members of Congress wanted to hold hearings on, say, Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and/or Israel’s fucking routine massacres in which far more Arabs are slaughtered than are Israelis?

Such hearings would never fucking happen. They’d be branded immediately as “anti-Semitic” and shot down.

Yet it’s wide open fucking season on Muslims and Arabs.

And yet we scratch our heads and ask of them, “Why do they hate us?”

Rep. Peter King’s McCarthyesque, bigoted, hateful charades are much more likely to stoke the fires of anti-American terrorism than to put those fires out.

Which, perversely, is probably exactly what he  and his treasonous ilk want:

9/11: The Sequel.

After all, the original was so great for the Repugnican Party.

– 

*Slate.com notes that “King was the first politician to speak out last year against a liberal, anti-terrorist American imam’s proposal to build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero.”

**Yeah, I hear you screaming, “What about 9/11?” But 9/11 was perpetrated by a group of individuals, not by a nation. (Even then, 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, as is Osama bin Laden, and not one of the hijackers was from Iraq.) The aggression against Muslims and Arabs by the United States and Israel is state-sponsored aggression, not the aggression by rogue individuals whose actions in many cases cannot be controlled.

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