The barbaric attack on the Boston Marathon earlier this month enjoyed a considerable amount of publicity from the media and attention from us, the people who live in the United States and who saw our home, our bastion and source of safety, unscrupulously assailed. Considering the heightened security after 9/11, no one imagined that an event which brings people together in a display of sportsmanship, harmony and tough spirits would evolve into a carnage of its kind, turning upside down the life of more than 170 injured people and resulting in the loss of another three. After just a week of investigations and a manhunt that left one policeman dead and a colleague of his severely injured, the suspected bombers, Dzhokar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were overtaken by the consequences of their actions: after a stand-off with the police, the older brother, Tamerlan, was killed and the younger one, Dzhokar, wounded and, 19 hours later, apprehended. Essentially, thanks to the prompt response of the law-enforcement agencies and the efforts of more than a thousand officers, the perpetrators did feel the full weight of justice and the surviving brother will most probably be charged with the use of weapons for mass destruction for terrorist purposes, a felony which could cost him his life.


Certainly, the punishment of Dzhokar Tsarnaev will bring some sense of relief to the families of those injured and, although nothing could compensate them for the psychological and physical trauma, at least those responsible for this heinous crime will be held accountable for their actions. The law-enforcement agencies will probably become ever more vigilant and alert, too, so as to make America once again the safe home of its residents. What we do not realize, however, is that we are quite fortunate: we have one of the best security forces and incidents like this one, luckily, transpire very seldom. In other countries, however, terrorism is a mere formality of life, the perpetrators rarely face justice and people live in the same fear which temporary overwhelmed us forever. They do not know whether their children will return alive from school, see their spouses after work or survive the mundane bombing of another market or store. The explosion in their town which took the life of dozens of people is just another part of the daily routine, a routine which will unfortunately not make its way on any of the major broadcasts or newspapers, let alone be on focus for a week.


While the world had fixed its gaze on Boston and the aftermath of the marathon bombing, at a political rally in Peshawar, Pakistan, yet another Taliban-orchestrated suicide attack took the life of sixteen people and injured dozens. Sadly, hardly any media outlet paid even a bit of the attention that the marathon incident enjoyed. Engrossed by the domestic problems, most of the major news channels and newspapers dedicated little to no space to the attack. While anecdotal evidence based on examples is of scarcely any value, it is rather unfortunate that not just in this case, but, in general, countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan receive relatively little coverage when tragedies similar to the Boston one shake them. Why? Are the lives of their people less valuable? Or are we simply sheltered in a world of our own where the dire reality outside has no bearing on our lives?


Do not get me wrong: it is remarkable to see a nation, in which the sense of individualism is much stronger than in many others, stand so united. If anything, tragedies like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing have always faded away behind the strong spirits, unity and resilience of the American people. Imagine, however, that instead of being 10 yards or 100 yards from the site of the explosions, you were somewhere in New York or Los Angeles. Would you feel less sympathy for the people whose lives were directly impacted by the bombings? Hopefully, not. And this exactly is my point: our ability to empathize with human suffering knows, or should not know, any boundaries. The events that plunged the people of Boston in distress happen every week, and often on much larger scale, in other places across the world. This incarnation of brutality to us, lamentably, is a mere reality to others. To ignore the agony of these people is quite similar to a non-Bostonian ignoring the anguish of the victims of the recent marathon bombings.

I understand that when someone violates the integrity of our home, we tend to react much more passionately. All I am saying is – this is not exactly right. So the next time you walk on the street to enjoy the sun, send your child to school or say “See you soon!” to your beloved one, put yourself into the shoes of a person who lives somewhere far away. This person has the same feelings and emotions as yours, the same needs and fears. The only difference is that this person is not sure whether today holds the last sun they will enjoy, the last time they will see their kid go to school and the last time the people most dear to them will say goodbye.