Boston’s flag was raised high, New York’s was lowered at half-mast, Yankee Stadium displayed the words “United We Stand” and every person in attendance at the Boston Bruins game sang the National Anthem at the top of their lungs; my pride for our country at that moment grew immensely.
The notion that we could overcome such heartbreak filled me with pride.
On April 15, Boston was attacked, but we all felt the pain. From Syria to New York, people wept and sent their prayers. As a country, and as a world, we came together in support.
One beautiful picture that circulated the Internet was of two young boys from Iraq that held a poster that read, “We Mourn with Boston.”
It’s images like these that remind us that people aren’t all bad, and that the majority of us do want safety and peace for all. It also reminds us that we shouldn’t associate the sick masterminds of such devastation with one ethnic or religious group.
As made very apparent after the 9/11 attacks, Americans are quick to make such associations. It’s sad that we so easily classify an entire group of people as threatening just because of one outlier.
Right after the Tsarvaevs were identified as the suspects for the Boston bombings, rumors spread that they were from the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic received so much slander that Petr Gandalovic, Czech Republic’s ambassador to the United States, felt it necessary to make a mass media announcement that the Tsarvaevs were in fact not from the Czech Republic, but from Chechnya.
But neither Chechnya nor the Czech Republic should take the blame for what happened; it was two individuals that caused us such harm, not a country, and certainly not a religion.
However, many Americans, including those in our own government, don’t seem to see it that way.
Joe Walsh, a former Republican Rep. from Illinois, discussed the aftermath of the Boston bombings on MSNBC. Walsh firmly declared, “We’re at war, and this country got a stark reminder last week again that we’re at war. And not only should we take a pause, when it comes to our immigration, we need to begin profiling who our enemy is in this war: young Muslim men.”
Walsh’s comment is a perfect example of disgusting racial profiling, and it is this narrow-minded view that makes us so vulnerable to continuous attacks.
Our enemies are not one group of people who practice one religion from one country; our enemies are the individuals that choose to hurt us.
In the wake of the Boston bombings, immigration reform has been under much scrutiny. Supporters of the Gang of Eight’s plan, which is the proposed bill to strictly reform immigration as well as identify the 11 million foreigners living in the U.S., were even more adamant on securing our nation’s borders.
But unfortunately, no one piece of legislation is going to stop the violence, because there is not just one identifiable enemy.
As much of a tragedy as it is that three lives were lost and more than 250 were injured from the Boston bombings, it is also a tragedy that we Americans are still so closed-minded in the face of adversity.
As a country that has already suffered so much, we should grow smarter and more vigilant about how to face this deadly problem, and stop associating our enemies based on prejudice.