Every time a city is bloodied, be it Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, New York, London, and now Boston, the scenes that unfold are mirror images of each other. Boston’s Mile 26 on Monday resembled a war zone too, when twin blasts shook the annual Marathon site, barely 100 feet away from the finishing line. The Boston Marathon, observed every year on Patriot’s Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts, became a grisly spectacle of limbless athletes stunned into silence, after the deafening roar of the double bombings within few seconds of each other. What an absolute tragedy that runners, who worked so hard to build up their stamina and make it to the Marathon, the runners, young and old, who outdid others and covered the 26.2 mile stretch before many, now face amputation, and have to live with that forever. For those who died in the blasts, what a pain it must have caused to their families, who had been cheering just minutes before the bombings changed the course of their lives forever. It is shameful, utterly shameful and barbaric, that a space for celebrations and traditional reveling in the ultimate physicality of bodily exercise, was turned on Monday into a site in which bodies were maimed, limbs were severed, and injuries grounded as many as 140 people, numbing them into shocked disbelief and excruciating pain.
America, over the last few years, has been jabbed in its heart, with a number of gun massacres – in Denver, Colorado; in Newtown, Connecticut; in Milwaukee, Tennessee. Every time it was either a disgruntled teenager, or a trigger-happy neoNazi responsible. No wonder then that Tuesday’s Washington Post voiced the sentiment that approximated the national mood, grim though it was –‘Please don’t be a Muslim.’ Two years back, when terror struck Oslo, the Norwegian capital came face to face with the menace of Islamophbia, as the Scandanavian city saw a 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, a rightwing, Muslim-baiting extremist, open fire and kill 87 people, after bombing the city centre. As Boston panicked on Monday, and as the collective cheer and roar transmogrified into collective mourning and a dirge for the dead and the wounded, the voice of sanity was heard in that one whiff of prayer. America has learnt to see terror separately from Muslims, even Islamists. The ‘nightmarish swirl of bloodied streets and torn-apart limbs’ – as the New York Times described the terror scene, need not be a Muslim’s doing, and America doesn’t want it to be anymore. This is the only silver lining after a day of devastating storm that the culturally superlative capital of Massachusetts had gone through on Monday. The cruel irony, that the faceless terror struck on Patriot’s Day, is not lost on anyone. This is an act of sheer nihilism. This is an assault on the very idea of a human collective. A deathblow on the face of civilisation. As Boston stands united against violence, which is always mindless, the rest of the world, including those of us living in equally wounded cities, stand in solidarity with the Bostonians.