Boston Bombing: Hoax Reports, Racial Assaults and Hope

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The bombing of the Boston Marathon has already produced a string of hoax reports, conspiracy theories and unfounded finger pointing.  Today we highlight some of those hoax reports, examine the reaction and plea for calm.

Hoaxes Exposed

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There were reports in the Mail Online of another disaster yesterday.  High in the mountains of the Uruzgan province of Afghanistan, a wedding party was celebrating the marriage of a young afghan couple.  As the families danced and sang, a bomb dropped from the sky blowing the venue to pieces.  At least thirty people died instantly, and further reports suggest more than 120 people were killed or wounded.  The bomb was dropped by a US warplane.  There were no Taliban or Al Qaeda targets at the wedding. All those killed and injured were civilians.

This story is actually the retelling of a story from 2002 in order to support a theory that the Boston Bombing was retaliation for the wedding bomb.

A string of conspiracy theories are doing the rounds.  One is ‘The Man on the Roof’ picture which asks users to share and ‘bring these bastards to justice’.

David Icke has highlighted a mysterious Facebook page set up in sympathy for the bombing victims, which he claims was set up two days before the event.  I particularly love this little boy’s debunking of this hoax.

A series of fake twitter and Facebook accounts were set up to capitalise on those looking to ‘do something’, soliciting donations to nonexistent charities.  Some even used pictures of ‘child runners’ that they misled people into believing had died in the attacks to generate memes.

I won’t be singling out false flag claims for debunking as, like everyone else, I have no idea who set the bombs off.

Racial Reaction

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It didn’t take long for prejudice to rise to the surface in response to the bombing. Fox News is busy heaping blame on Islam, with no requirement for any connecting evidence at all.  Fox has run a series of stories including ‘Jordan Muslim Extremist Happy over Boston Bombings’, later picked up by the UK’s Daily Telegraph so as to ensure Brits got all angry at the Muslims too.

Not content with this side swipe at Muslims, Fox news contributor Erik Rush took to twitter to urge people to ‘Kill All Muslims’.  His hash tag #Muslims immediately unleashing all hell on twitter.

This sort of irresponsible spewing of prejudice has nothing to do with supporting innocent victims or seeking justice.  It is simply the seizing of an opportunity to release and stoke pre-existing bigotry.  It would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous.  Sadly, this is what gets innocent brown people insulted, assaulted and killed in times of great anxiety such as this.

The responsible and proper thing to do at this time is keep calm.  Arm chair terror experts inciting religious and ethnic hatred in a tense and uncertain moment will do nothing to support those grieving their losses, or deliver justice.  It will only serve to heap tragedy upon tragedy. Let’s not do that.

Relative Terror

As people all over the world join Boston in mourning, another disaster which happened yesterday received less empathy.

More than 30 people were killed and hundreds injured in a wave of car bombs and other blasts across Iraq, ahead of important local elections.  Explosions rocked Baghdad, Kirkuk and several other towns.

It is at times like this we can and should take the opportunity to connect with the terror experienced elsewhere in the world.  When we experience the shock, fear and anger when bombs go off, we should not pretend our suffering is unique or new in the world.  Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and nations across the world are full of grieving mothers, bewildered young people, fathers furiously unable to protect their families, and other everyday people trying to go about their lives.

I wonder how we would feel about Iraq and our role in the current status quo, if our media outlets personalised such incidents in the same way they have with Boston.  It is clear that the media has a role in making an event which happens far away personally relevant to those watching.  Today, the media has brought to life the loss of an eight year old boy in a way that means the whole world will grieve his loss.  His death is made significant.  Imagine this level of respect and personalisation, a statistic reformed into a real person, accorded to the daily losses in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This might well be unbearable.  But it would surely provoke a greater pressure on our governments.

Never Waste an Opportunity to Come Together

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The reality is that people do care.  Most people presented with the stories of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan in the same way as those in Boston, would find both equally distressing.  This is why the presentation of these stories is so critical. We might debate whether the failure of large portions of our mainstream media to perform this function well is cock up or conspiracy.  What is clear however, is that this failure is resulting in a relative view of what constitutes terror.

We can understand the rage of a marathon runner who loses his son to a roadside bomb, but not the rage of the afghan father who loses half his family in a bombing during a family wedding. We weigh these lives less equally, and we do so at our peril.

We can instead take this opportunity to reflect.  Consider the national and international trauma caused by two bombs in Boston.  Then imagine the difficulty maintaining public order if fifty bombs had gone off across the country yesterday…and two days before, and a week before that.

Never waste an opportunity to come together.  It is easy to become hostile in these moments; to shout each other down, to fall into some ‘my trauma is greater than your trauma’ game of emotional pat-a-cake.

We can instead seize the opportunity to hug our children closer, say the unsaid ‘I love you’s, consider those others far away and put their suffering in the same category of our sympathies.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

17 thoughts on “Boston Bombing: Hoax Reports, Racial Assaults and Hope

  1. No one is doing their job properly. Things like this is not a magazine gossip. Until confirmed, whoever the suspects are, their data should not be made public. Media as usual acts, blames, claims,confirms,too much as if they know the truth or they tell the truth. It is pity people die, people are injured. In ten years time, did not Americans learn a bit that they are being used, being manipulated. The so-called war on terror damaged so many people so much… I am upset, angry how irrational, biased, excessive, arrogant we become. Two brothers are suspected for a very slim proof, their photos are released around. So imagine, when these two brothers who might be innocent, at least have nothing to do boston bombings, see their photos and when they are being targeted like a monster, as a confirmed criminal, what do you expect them to do?.. If they were really the bombers, would not they calculate all these? But now, once they are targeted as a suspect although they might be innocent, not only them, most people will try to safeguard themselves. With the fear of their lives, they might hopelessly, try to grab a car and escape as much. Do you believe if they surrender, they will just be questioned properly? The police, FBI, why can’t they catch them without killing? etc. etc…. How long do we have to swallow everything? There are much more things going on as usual and now public focus is diverted to a wrong end perhaps. I might be wrong but I don’t make judgements. I say, maybe, maybe… At least, we should not jump into conclusions. It all got very messy now. Everyone, icnluding me, speaks something… A lot of confusion. Of course, it is not our duty/expertise to find the criminals whoever they might be but just spotting two persons with backpack and hat and releasing their photos around and pinning them on the suspect wall… too quick, too sloppy… As long as security works like this, worse things to happen because of this ignorence and arogance… Pity.

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  3. Boston Explosion Timing Finally Explained

    Law enforcement in Boston have released a possible explanation for the late timing of the two explosions which occurred during this week’s marathon.

    (I-Newswire) April 17, 2013 – With a suspect in custody, police in Boston have announced what appears to be a suspicious connection between the placement and timing of the two bombs that grievously injured over a hundred people while killing several bystanders, and five people present in the area at the time of the blasts who reside in the same small town outside of the Boston area.

    While details are limited, a spokesman with the investigation stated that a suspect currently in custody has revealed having a personal relationship with two women who finished the marathon at around three and a half hours, and fours hours, respectively. The blasts occurred as both women remained in the area of the finish line after having recently finished the marathon.

    Both women are from a small community where the suspect is also a longtime resident. Both women are married, with their husbands present in the viewing area near the finish line. None of the four suffered injuries from the blasts, but all four are believed to have witnessed to it before fleeing the area.

    Police caution that while the suspect they have in custody is being held with good reason, and the connection to the two women has been verified, they cannot at this time verify with certainty that the suspect was indeed involved in building or detonating the two bombs.

    Boston police are warning the public not to attempt vigilante justice against the suspect if released or at any time in the future, as this may simply be a case of a mentally disturbed individual claiming credit for a terrorist act to serve personal delusions of grandeur or a persecution complex.

    Other possible reasons for the suspect claiming responsibility could be the covert use of a “dummy terrorist” without any traceable connections to the actual terrorist organization responsible for the blasts, in which case public attacks against the “dummy terrorist” would only serve to conceal further the real culprit.

  4. I find it interesting that the young boy’s utube debunking vid you found (showing how html script can be manipulated to change Facebook page info) that ‘that’ is the only show he’s ever posted – no comments, nothing: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ5ZWP5t_69GSVJcSp4anbw/videos?flow=grid&view=0

    He’s had that channel since Sep ’12. That in and of itself is strange – unusual when you ‘consider’ young boys his age post all sorts things. Just an observation.

    If a number of people are questioning the validity of news information reported, the question is “Why?” Just as people who believe whatever they hear – the social conditioning of this age – there are people who don’t just take it for face value as true. Human nature is human nature, the good and bad of it.

    Beating down or belittling those who are questioning, asking for validating facts, trying to expose liars and frauds should be applauded – not shamed to ‘shut up’ and ‘behave’ — follow the collective. It’s worthless if it can’t stand up under the ‘light of truth’ shinning on it.

    Like Benghazi, we might not really hear the truth, and it ‘does matter’ because it could happen to you and me, if it happens elsewhere. Wisdom and understanding purports that we be aware of facts, and continue to seek out what is true. If not, we’ll find that we’ve played into our demise, unknowingly supported the lies, falseness and hollowness that affects our own lives and those we love. Working together to debunk the lies and liars is a worthy pursuit – seeing it for what it is, not for it isn’t.

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  6. We are a nation divided, a large portion of our citizenry walking around with their heads buried in sand buckets provided free by media spin doctors on the corporate take. This system threw up a smoke screen of fake fear, then used it to hide an illegal invasion based on one reality: Corporate gain. In the process, over 100,000 (yep, many of that number innocent families and kids) were wiped out and brushed aside as ‘collateral damage.’ At this point, investigators into Boston have no clue in regards to who or what the motive is behind the explosions. The single truth? Anyone capable of an act like this, whether here or elsewhere, is a sociopath, and we, as Americans had better pull our collective heads out of those buckets of sand and take responsibility for allowing certain corporations (organized sociopaths) to use our government, armed forces and our media like the mob uses hit men, because we’ve been shirking our responsibility for far too long. It’s time to become planetary citizens, join forces with those around the world. Instead of supporting World Free Trade, which profits criminals, we should support World Free Citizenry and take care of ‘the people.’ What a novel idea, government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
    There’s only one race…the human race.

  7. Good plea for sanity. Rushing to conclusions is always stupid and counter-productive in situations such as this. The focus should be on supporting the injured, the bereaved and the traumatised.

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  9. Well said!
    Ironically the bombings in Iraq and today’s earthquake in Iran are considerably closer to us geographically, but the media ensures that culturally and thus emotionally they are a million miles apart.

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