One death is a death too many

2013-04-21 14:00

The US was scalded again this week when two bomb blasts ripped through the benches near the finishing line of the Boston Marathon.

Three people died. Not “only” three people. But three people too many. By the end of the fateful day, Salah Eddin Barhoum was questioned in hospital.

He turned out to be a runner, but to many, this Saudi man was Suspect Number 1 because he happened to be Muslim. Boston’s Muslim community was on edge as Islamophobia reared its ugly head again.

A panicked security apparatus and media establishment let their slip show with racial profiling run rampant. There was no detail of investigation or respect for the principle of innocence until proven guilty.

That was until Thursday night when police hunted down two other suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tamerlan died in a shoot-out, said the police. By the time of writing, Boston was on tenterhooks as cops searched out the other brother.

All we know is that three people died and scores more were injured on a day usually marked by joy and the celebration of fitness in Boston, one of the centres of the US brains trust.

In the same week, 30 members of an Afghan wedding party were killed when a US airplane strafing went wrong, reported the BBC’s Pashto service.

This is a fairly common occurrence in the era of drone warfare practised by the US and sanctioned by its clients in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Every death is a death too many. As we wrote this column, there were reports of 27 Iraqis killed in Baghdad attacks – a region that has not been rid of violence and insecurity despite a long American occupation.

Drone warfare and the often indiscriminate killing it includes is as much a terror as the pressure cooker bombs that tore through Boston this week.

The US, as well as the rest of the world, needs to find more even-handed and fair ways of labelling and ending terrorism.

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