Boston Marathon

All of us were shocked yesterday by the bombing at the Boston Marathon. About 3:00 p.m. two powerful bombs were detonated near the finish line of the annual “Patriots’ Day” event. Three people were killed including an 8-year-old boy. One hundred and forty-four were injured among them a 3-year-old; two were left in critical condition.


Naturally, our hearts go out to all the victims and their families. A day that began in joy and celebration ended in complete tragedy. What can be more painful than losing a loved one – especially a child?


Responses to the disaster will be interesting to observe. It remains to be seen whether U.S. officials will connect the Boston Marathon Bombing with foreign or domestic terrorists or whether it was a criminal act by some insane individual.


In either case, the tragedy brings home to American soil the destruction and terror that U.S. policy inflicts each day on unsuspecting civilians across the world in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere. Pakistani events, Yemeni celebrations that begin in joy and high spirits routinely end in tears and mourning as drones drop from the sky without warning or as doors are kicked in by rampaging American soldiers shouting vile curses.


We must remember that the terrifying explosions, blood, torn flesh, scattered body parts and lives cut off virtually before they’ve begun constitute everyday occurrences at the hands of our criminal government and brutal military.


In fact, next to the havoc, murder, torture and sheer cruelty of U.S. policy in the countries just mentioned, what happened in Boston hardly deserves a mention. (Actually, most of U.S.-caused terror gets no mention in our mainstream press at all.)


What I’m saying is the obvious: U.S. chickens are coming home to roost; Boston is a preview of things to come. I mean, Marathon-like bombings regardless of the origin of this particular attack will increasingly be part of our own lives until our country comes to its senses and leaves aside its imperial pretensions, international interventions and quick resort to violence as the solution to every problem.


This is because random bombings employing crude improvised devices constitute poor people’s responses to illegal occupation of their countries by American invaders using state-of-the-art weapons from drones to daisy cutters. It’s the last resort — what is possible for the poor and powerless as they attempt to defend themselves from “the most powerful military in the world.”


There is only one way to avoid the fate I’m describing: reject empire. That means living within our means; respecting human rights and international law; abjuring militarism; stopping the torture; closing the secret prisons; remanding drone policy; and ACTUALLY BEING WHO WE CLAIM TO BE IN THE WORLD!


Until we make such reforms, mayhem like that exemplified by the Boston Marathon bombing will continue to represent our collective destiny.


Mike Rivage-Seul is emeritus professor of peace and social justice, former Roman Catholic priest, activist, and liberation theologian. Visit his blog here.