April 23 2013
John Podhoretz has a great column on all the nice things former schoolmates are saying about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving brother from the Boston Marathon bombing.
The headline of the column is “A ‘Beautiful, Beautiful’ Terrorist,” and in it Podhoretz writes about the sensibilities of those who recalled the blood-soaked, death-and-mutilation-dealing Dzhokhar as having a “heart of gold,” or being gracious and compassionate:
These testifiers and others who testified to Dzhokhar’s essential wondrousness are, I’m sure, decent people careful about offendingothers’ sensitivities. So what might have possessed them to issue such panegyrics while mourners wept and others were grappling with the fact that they would live life without legs?
Perhaps they were insensitive in this case because they had spent so much time being sensitive — to Dzhokhar.
I don’t know them, but I know where they live — in and around Cambridge, Mass. — and I know that it’s a lot like where I grew up and where I live now on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In such precincts, a soft-spoken Muslim kid like Dzhokhar is more likely to be considered a special catch than eyed suspiciously as a potential terrorist.
Where I live, one is far more inclined to hear about the dangers of Islamophobia than the dangers posed by Islamist radicalism.
By contrast, one person who remembers Dzhokhar perhaps more realistically is Ruslan Tsarni, the uncle of the two suspects, who denounced them.
“Let’s hear it for Uncle Ruslan,” says Mollie Hemingway of Riccochet. The uncle said that the terrorists had brought shame on the family and wasted a chance for a good life in the United States.
“This is the ideal micro-world in the entire world,” he said of the United States. “I respect this country. I love this country; this country which gives chances to everybody else to be treated as a human being.”
Isn’t this what we should expect from members of the moderate Muslim community in the United States?
Unfortunately, Uncle Ruslan is an anomaly rather than the norm.