The bombers may have dreamt of finding the final solution to the domination of their chosen sports by people of African descent
Why did the bombers target the finish line? Was it racial based, as historically Africans have been winners? Three spectators died and later a campus police officer was executed: none of them were African despite the positioning. The video footage of the first blast shows that it went off as an African looking runner was passing but luckily he was unhurt. That is how racism works – it is a danger to everyone and not a problem for only those who are targeted. As Bob Marley put it, “When the rain falls, it won’t fall on one mans’ housetop.”
The bombers are said to be from a violently racist Russia. Many historical events have proved this: Once a young man distributed an online video about the execution of a Muslim by Neo-Nazis. He got a year sentence to a labour camp while the convicted executioners got 10 years in the same camps. In a different scenaio, a few years ago Putin reacted to a comment that Russians and Africans have a lot in common by protesting vehemently that ‘Russians are not cannibals’. Later a former teacher cooked up a storm of human flesh for food: is this not cannibalism? African university students in Russia were recently asked to relocate away from their hostel near a summer camp because the officials feared that they would rape the children.
That is the kind of country where the bombers were born and partly raised. They fled from war and violence with their families to come to the USA a mere decade ago. Occasionally, Caucasus people like themselves are routinely targeted by the Neo-Nazis for elimination perhaps in reaction to the violent Chechen war against Russians since the collapse of the Soviet Union. I hypothesize that this background could help explain why they targeted the Boston Marathon and as is the case with all hypotheses, this one might be wrong.
Bell Hooks suggested that one way many immigrants try to assimilate into white America is often by buying into the racism against African Americans. Joan Walsh (April 22) concurs with Bell in a salon.com column: ‘Embracing racism and xenophobia, sadly, could be a shortcut to white status for previously non-white European immigrants.’ This is not an argument against immigration but a testimony that racism is a problem for the entire society and not just for the targeted groups, calling for all to be committed against racism in all its manifestations.
What does racism have to do with this bombing? The two brothers came to the USA and chose to specialize in sporting events that are dominated by black people. The older brother chose to become a boxer and the younger brother chose to become an athlete. Maybe they hoped to become the great ‘white hope’ to beat black people in the events where they remain dominant: just as Hitler refused to shake the hand of Olympic gold-medallist, Jesse Owens, and also hoped against hope that Joe Louis would lose to Max Schmeling twice and thereby affirm the discredited Nazi ideology of white supremacy. The athlete may have hoped to qualify for the London Olympics and thereby win acceptance as honorary white Americans but blamed his failure repeatedly on African American athletes. I wrote this on April 22 and on April 27, the New York Times confirmed my hypothesis in a detailed report.
Their problem may be that they did not stand much chance competing with a strong pool of African Americans in boxing and tracks. As the racist saying goes, they might have been complaining that they would have made it to the Olympics if not for those black sportsmen. So the big brother got radicalized quickly around the time of the conclusion of the Olympics trials in the USA where he and his kid brother probably got their behinds whooped by world-class performers. Lawrence O'Donnel reported on April 23 that the elder brother got suspended from his Boston Mosque after he disrupted a Martin Luther King Jr day lecture by heckling the speaker for saying ‘Martin Luther King Jr is a prophet’.
If indeed the hypothesis that the Boston Bombers were motivated by racism is supported by sufficient evidence, it should serve as a lesson to everyone that racism does not affect only the targeted group. One of the bombers is already dead and the other is on life-support possibly as direct victims of their own racial hatred. Other cases are those of Timothy McVeigh, who killed a dozen children (aiming at blacks) but whose vast majority were white, and Hitler, who set out to find the final solution to the Jewish question and in the process ended the lives of nearly 20 million Germans.
The bombers may have dreamed of finding the final solution to the domination of their chosen sports by people of African descent. This does not make every Chechen a threat as their uncle denounced them as his nephews. It only goes to call for broad coalitions against racism even among immigrants: cancer of racism affects everyone in the end. The media should also be more vigilant against racism instead of burying their talking heads in the sand and pretending that racism has nothing to do with the Boston bombings while the dots are there to be connected past the initial racial profiling of the suspect as a 'dark skinned man in a hoodie'.
I once quoted Dr Onwudiwe from his series article The Globalization of terrorism: Interdisciplinary Research Series in Ethnic, Gender, and Class Relations, Ashgate Publishers in 2001:
‘I was intrigued by Dr. Onwudiwe’s use of World System Theory (WST) to explain global terrorism and we discussed his work as an African resident of San Diego offered to give us a ride across to Tijuana in Mexico before our departure. On that trip, evidence of the WST was everywhere before us. For example, there was no immigration check on the Mexico side where the poorer government was only too glad to have us come and spend our welcome dollars in their economy. However, on our return to San Diego that day, the queue to the border control was very long and when we eventually got there, the uniformed official checked the identity papers of the five Africans in the Mercedes Benz car but not those of the only Caucasian who was with us. This omission occupied us in discussion as to whether it was a simple error by a tired official or whether it was an indication of the racial profiling characteristic of the World System that treated individuals perceived to be peripheral with more suspicion than individuals perceived to be core. For all you know, the white guy could have been a rebel from Albania or Chechnya sneaking into the US while some of the Africans quizzed were actually American citizens.’
This is the original hypothesis: There is a relationship between x and y. Scientific minds will proceed cautiously by testing the null hypothesis: there is no relationship between x and y. If we find significant evidence to affirm the null hypothesis, then we will reject the original hypothesis. If we reject the null hypothesis, then we will affirm the original. Let x be racism and y be terrorism. The news reporters however, overwhelmingly suggest that the x is religious extremism. Let us assume they are right. Would religious extremists tend to be anti-racist or virulently racist? We cannot condemn all religious extremists as racist nor can we conclude that all racists tend to be religious extremists.
It may be argued that if they wanted to target fast-running Africans, they would have detonated their bombs one hour earlier. The brothers were apparently lone wolves who did not have a ‘time-keeper’ to ensure that they targeted the winners alone. They had six more bombs with them in the police car chase but only two were successfully detonated. So their timing was off by 2 hours from the winners, but that is no proof that they did not have a racist grudge against Africans, perhaps for dominating their chosen sports. Yes, even some of those who come last in the race will be Africans (as the video of the first blast showed a black man running past) but it is no secret that the marathon is an event with disproportionate African participation.
The original hypothesis of a link between x and y may be a stretch but when you are born and raised in a country where the President calls Africans cannibals and where African students complain that ‘monkey’ noises are so common that they no longer bother to report them, it is not such a huge stretch to hypothesize that young people socialized into white supremacy in such a society will tend to be racist. Terrorism is a hate crime, so the hypothesized link between x and y appears logical. It was not too long ago that religious extremists rounded up black skinned citizens in Libya and executed them in front of video cameras. Religious extremists may try to convert non-believers to their faith but they cannot convert blackness to whiteness - hence the will to the final solution.
We should therefore not ignore possible racist motives, among other motives of-course, because the disease of racism will spread and affect everyone. The bombers may have targeted black people but the whole society is paying the price. Racism, sexism, classism among others are challenges to all.