FILMS FOR ACTION
FILMS FOR ACTION NEEDS YOUR HELP
We don't run on ads. We run on donations. Please help us by committing $5 a month.

A Pakistani Response to the Boston Marathon Bombing

By Bina Shah / binashah.blogspot.com
Apr 15, 2013
3

Late last night I saw on Twitter news reports coming in about the twin bombings at the Boston Marathon. I saw the photographs of bloodied runners on the ground, read the stories about how people had their legs and ankles blown off. I heard that an 8 year old boy died from the bombs.

I lived in Boston for six years and stood on the road outside Wellesley College to cheer on the marathon runners as they passed through the town on the marathon route. It was called the "Scream Tunnel" because we would scream and cheer so loudly for the runners that it would be overwhelming to them. They'd often say that passing through Wellesley was the best part of the marathon.

Now I live in Pakistan, where I've seen countless bombings and countless news reports of people being killed in those bombs. I've seen pictures of mosques and imambargahs with blood on the ceilings. I've seen the burnt out husks of buildings and buses hit by bombs in Karachi, and heard and seen of far more coming from all the other cities and towns of Pakistan.

Last night and this morning I've been seeing people making comments stating "Now they know what we feel like" or posting links to articles about the US killing 30 people in Afghanistan at a wedding party yesterday.¹ People are remarking that nobody cares when the bombing takes place in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan or Palestine, but that everyone cries when it happens in America because the media draws global attention to those rare events.

I also see people unable to refuse the temptation to draw comparisons between the Boston Marathon bombing and US drone attacks in northern Pakistan.

However, I feel it's very dangerous to make these kinds of comments because it implies there is a connection between the perpetrators of the Marathon bombing and the victims of US drone attacks or bombings halfway around the world. It also implies the Marathon was bombed in direct retaliation for these attacks, such as the bombing of the Afghan wedding party or similar American attacks on "Muslim" soil (can the earth have a religion?).

While one could argue that these events are cosmically linked, as in the adage "What goes around comes around", the far more nuanced truth is that the Boston Marathon bombing shows us bombs and terrorism are a global phenomenon, one which nobody on earth is safe from in any country, the US included.

A friend of mine while walking in Toronto yesterday was screamed at by a white man who said "Fucking Paki bomber" and spat on his face. We have to restrain ourselves from the same kind of hysterical reactionism on the other side of the equation, so that the hysteria and the blame and fear-mongering don't spiral out of control, as so many would like it to.

If we don't hold ourselves back, the world will be more divided than ever. I don't want that to happen and neither should you.



2:05 AM CST Clarification: Thanks to the Daily Mail not time-stamping its articles, somehow a trend grew yesterday that saw multiple websites incorrectly republishing a 2002 headline that stated: "US bomb kills 30 at Afghan wedding."  The article is circulating as having occurred on the same day as the Boston bombing, which accounts for the incorrect reference in the article above.

That said, there was a deadly string of bomb attacks in Iraq the same day that left 55 dead and over 300 wounded.

It's also true that regardless of what year this U.S. bombing occurred, the loss of innocent life is no less tragic. In fact it is perhaps even more disheartening when we realize that the terrorism committed by governments is far more within our control and could be prevented by citizen action than the actions of individuals.

But perhaps that is also the silver lining. We may not be able to stop lone acts of terrorism, but we can work to stop our own governments from waging wars of terror via peaceful means.

Trending Videos
Personal Change Is Good, Collective Organizing Is Better
Imperialism
Positive Alternatives to Business as Usual
Featured Documentaries

Films For Action is a library for people who want to change the world.

Founded in 2006, our mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more beautiful, just, sustainable, and democratic society.

  • To dive in, click the Explore button above. You can filter by subject and category at the same time, and sort by newest, most viewed and top-rated.
  • Help us keep the quality of the site high by rating content 1-5 stars.
  • Add videos to our library! Half of our best content was added by members.
  • Have a question or suggestion? Feel free to get in touch.
  • Want to support us and watch some great films in the process? Our $5/mo Patrons get access to 15 of our favorite documentaries.

 

Why join Films For Action?

Goal: To rapidly transition to a just, ecologically sustainable, holistic way of living as fast as possible.

We believe the first step to achieve this goal should be an information delivery network that can amplify the impacts of all our efforts 1000 fold. 

Although Films For Action is centered around film - its true objective is the transformation of the world. This means moving away from the unsustainable paradigm we have now to a regenerative paradigm, as fast as humanly possible.  

Film is the medium of delivery -- the catalyst, the metabolizing agent to speed up, amplify and multiply the effects of every transition movement on the planet. And of course, "transition" contains it all - social justice, ecological regeneration, true democracy, egalitarian economics, universal empathy, less cultural insanity and more happiness and well-being.

All of these movements need a media ecosystem that supports this transition, rather than the media we have today which marginalizes it, ignores it, sanitizes it, suppresses it, or actively fights it. There is certainly good coverage across many different news outlets, and the quality and depth varies, but in terms of volume, the good stuff is easily lost in the deluge of superficial concerns.

Watch any network TV channel for 24 hours or read the newspaper for a week, and you will see what we mean. The dominant narratives which drive the national debate and become "common knowledge" is more often superficial, focused on symptoms rather than root causes, and reinforces the conventional "two sides" within the status quo. The lies and spin promoted by figures in power become well known, while voices that challenge and expand the range of debate rarely get heard. But most importantly, the level of repetition and volume of coverage is what counts. What gets covered day after day, and what gets covered once and is forgotten, or not covered at all? That's why we need a media movement that's dedicated to elevating the voices that aren't getting heard. We need media alternatives that make social change its primary focus. That's why Films For Action exists.

Ultimately, we're just one star in this growing constellation of new media, but we aim to do our part by cultivating the best video library dedicated to transition online, and we hope you'll join us