The Boston Bombs: Why Are Western Lives Deemed More Important Than Arabic Ones?

The events of Monday were tragic, but no more tragic than the 55 lives lost to IEDs in Iraq...
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The events of Monday were tragic, but no more tragic than the 55 lives lost to IEDs in Iraq...


By now most of the world will know that two bombs were detonated close to the finishing line of the Boston Marathon. So far the fatalities number three with approx 176 injured. Tragically, the severity of some of those injuries does not rule out the final death toll finishing somewhat higher. By any criteria, a horrific and shocking act of callous barbarity rendered, possibly, even more so by it’s ostensibly indiscriminate and pointless nature. With the overwhelming majority of the runners taking part on behalf of their respective and chosen charities, it’s difficult to discern any logical reason, however twisted, for such an attack.

Depressingly, with brave and honourable exceptions, the world’s media have reacted in typical fashion; oh-so predictably, the American deaths have all but obliterated any coverage of the wave of bombings that swept Iraq just 24 hrs earlier. So far, the coordinated wave of IEDs has claimed 55 civilian lives, some of whom, too, are children. Understandably, many have viewed the gross imbalance in coverage as yet further proof that white, Western lives are deemed far more important than brown-skinned Arabic ones. One Tweeter acidly commented, “Today, a wave of bombings across Iraq killed at least 33 people. But who cares? We don't watch their sitcoms.” In reality, of course, the death of any child at the hands of a bomber is a tragedy and all should be held in equal regard. You’d never know it, though, if European and American media are your only guides. Fortunately for US citizens, and in stark contrast to the lives of the blighted Iraqi people, such horrors as those which befell the runners in the Boston Marathon are, thankfully, not their daily lot.

Sadly, the sheer human toll exacted by the US in their armed campaigns to achieve political dominance in the Middle East means there will be little sympathy for the victims of the Boston bombs. One Palestinian contact remarked grimly, “We’ve lived with these sorts of atrocities every single day of our lives. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; year-in, year-out. All of it actively funded and supported by America. They’re experiencing just a tiny, tiny taste of what it’s like to be a Palestinian. Or an Iraqi or an Afghan. When will they realise that doing what they do will only mean there will be more of their innocent children dying like ours?”


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Of course, there’s a huge, possibly mistaken, assumption of the part of our Palestinian commentator. Currently, details are few or at least the details the relevant law enforcement agencies are making available to the wider public. The official position is that, as yet, authorities have no idea who might be responsible. At the moment, contrary to the anti-Muslim ravings of bigots like Pam Geller and her co-ideologues at the repugnant Faux News, there is no evidence at all to suggest Al-Qaeda, or similar Islamic group, might be responsible. In fact, the Pakistani Taliban has explicitly stated they are not responsible. Given their proudly proclaimed war of holy martyrdom against ‘The Great Satan,’ that’s the US to most of you; it’s unlikely they’re telling lies.

However, although it would be foolish, at this early stage, to rule out Islamic involvement, the view of counter-terrorism expert, Richard Barrett, speaking to, is that the bombs are most likely to have been the work of domestic right wing extremists. Barrett, a former United Nations co-ordinator for the al-Qaida and Taliban monitoring team, as well having stints with MI5 and MI6 under his belt, is now senior director at the Qatar International Academy for Security Studies (QIASS). You might consider him a fella that knows a bit about that of which he speaks.

It’s a sickening irony that while the USA’s neocon foreign policy ensures no shortage of Middle Eastern and North African groups as suspects, the breathtaking trampling of own its citizens’ civil liberties, ostensibly to aid prosecution of ‘The War on Terror,’ has afforded any number of its hill-billy wing-nut neo-Nazi militias with a grudge and a motive, too. Irony of an even sicker quality can be found in President Obama’s revolting platitudes regarding the loss of American life and limb. Drone strikes authorised by him have already claimed more lives than two bombs at every Boston Marathon for the next ten years could hope to equal. Frankly, he’s an atrocious hypocrite and should be viewed with little more than contempt.

For the victims and their families, such speculation and finger-pointing pales into insignificance next to the human suffering they are experiencing. For the rest of us, however, the prospect of America succumbing to the sort of hysteria seen post-911 is terrifying. For all our sakes, we can only hope that the detonators of the Boston bombs turn out to be home-grown US terrorists; the prospect of the USA thrashing around the Middle East or North Africa and cynically exploiting this human tragedy in yet another immoral quest to bring ‘democracy’ to some poverty-stricken outpost is too terrible to contemplate.