It seems like every few months there is some kind of disaster near home. In the fall it was the hurricane, in December the Newtown school shootings, and now a bombing at the Boston Marathon? My sister was in Boston a few days earlier, so I'm very thankful she wasn't caught up in the events of Monday. The photos and footage of the scene were terrifying and awful. Consider donating to the Red Cross if you are looking for a way to help those affected. I risk repeating myself from last December, but I can't help but think of how this kind of violence was a daily fact of life in Sarajevo for four years. An Iraq war vet interviewed by CNN compared the scene to when an IED explodes. Sarajevo residents were shot at with mortar blasts randomly like this for four years while they tried to maintain some sense of normalcy in their lives. I've been to the park in Ilidža almost every day this week to enjoy the weather, and there's always a woman begging at the bridge who is missing her right foot. I can only assume this injury was a result of stepping on a landmine during or after the siege. The Sarajevo Roses in the city are fading, but the red resin still stands as a reminder of the deaths occurring on the sidewalks and plazas thousands of people walk on each day. A scene like Boylston Street in Boston was every day life for people in Sarajevo, and they did not have telephone lines at all, let alone special lines set up to find missing family members; they didn't even have fresh food or reliable drinking water.
There were also news reports yesterday of an American bomb hitting an Afghan wedding celebration, killing and injuring at least 120 people. The number of casualties is similar to that of the Boston bombing, but hasn't received a fraction of the attention. Obviously the average person will relate to and care about things happening in their own country more so than another, but would the story have had a different fate if the marathon bombings hadn't occurred the same day? Victims described the euphoria of the marathon finish line sharply juxtaposed with the sudden attack; why don't we make the same comparison to a bombed wedding party of innocent civilians, women and children? The Pentagon apparently admitted to a missed target in Afghanistan the same day, but has not confirmed that the events are related. Is it worse for an attack like this to be planned and premeditated, or a mistake made in a war that has gone on for far too long?
Violence in any form is a terrible thing, and prolonged violence for little to no sensical reason is even worse. Yes, the bombings at the Boston Marathon are an awful tragedy that will not soon be forgotten. Perhaps while we bury our dead, tend to the wounded and try to make sense of things, we should consider that we are getting a taste of what other countries endure, sometimes at the hands of our own military. The world will never be a perfect, peaceful place, and military action will sometimes be the only answer to difficult questions. But if we consider the impact of two bombs at a marathon finish line when difficult choices are presented, maybe we will find ourselves slower to wrath and quicker to help those in need.