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News & Politics News & Politics

Ruslan Tsarni's [Uncle of Boston bombers] extraordinary message about character, shame and responsibility

Posted by on Apr. 20, 2013 at 4:03 AM
  • 10 Replies

Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of the suspected Boston Marathon

Photo credit: Getty Images | Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of the suspected Boston Marathon bombing suspects, speaks to reporters in front of his home in Montgomery Village, Maryland. (April 19, 2013)


Published: April 19, 2013 3:27 PM

From the moment we heard of an explosion at the Boston Marathon, the talk on television, Twitter and in everyday conversations has been about which category the killers belonged to. Muslims? White supremacists? Arabs? Dark-skinned? Even in the hours since we learned the suspects' names, it's been all about nationality and ethnicity: ChechnyaDagestanKyrgyzstan, Russia.

Then, shortly after 11:30 this morning, Ruslan Tsarni, an uncle of the two suspects, stepped out of his house in Maryland and delivered an extraordinary message about character, shame and collective responsibility.

Association is a hard thing. The suspects are Tsarni's nephews. He's related to them, but he's also separate from them. "We have not been in touch with that family for a number of years," he said.

Tsarni said he was coming out to express condolences to the families of the victims in Boston. He spoke with anguish and specificity about each of the dead. He had nothing to do with the bombings, yet he felt an awful connection to them. He couldn't imagine, he said, that "the children of my brother would be associated with them."

A reporter asked Tsarni whether he knew of any ill will his nephews had felt toward the United States. He said he hadn't. "If I had guessed," he added, "I would just [turn them in] myself."

A reporter asked what might have provoked the violence. "Being losers," Tsarni shot back. "Hatred to those who were able to settle themselves" in this country. Then Tsarni raised his voice to make a point: "Anything else to do with religion, with Islam - it's a fraud. It's a fake." He went on: "We are Muslims. We are Chechens." But that didn't explain his nephews' violence, he said. "Somebody radicalized them."

Tsarni tried to explain that his birth family had drifted apart. Speaking of his brother, the father of the two suspects, Tsarni said, "My family has nothing to do with that family." In fact, he continued, "This family has had nothing to do with them for a long, long time." When a reporter asked why, he refused to say more than, "I just wanted my family to be away from them."

The press wouldn't let go. "Are you ashamed by what has unfolded?" a reporter asked. "Of course we are ashamed!" Tsarni exclaimed. "They are the children of my brother." But even his brother, he cautioned, "has little influence" on the two young men.

A reporter asked Tsarni how he felt about the United States. Tsarni, his voice rising, declared it the "ideal" country, a microcosm of the "entire world." He went on: "I respect this country. I love this country - this country which gives a chance to everybody else to be treated as a human being."

A reporter asked whether the young men had ever been caught up in the fighting in Chechnya. Tsarni spat back, "No! They've never been in Chechnya. This has nothing to do with Chechnya. Chechens are different. Chechens are peaceful people." The young men weren't even born there, he said. One was born in Dagestan, the other in Kyrgyzstan.

Muslims, Chechens, immigrants, the family, even the parents - it wasn't fair to hold any of these people responsible. And yet Tsarni couldn't escape the feeling of collective disgrace. "He put a shame on our family," he told the reporters. "He put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity."

In the end, Tsarni raised his hands and asked to say one more thing: "Those who suffered, we're sharing with them, with their grief - and ready just to meet with them, and ready just to bend in front of them, to kneel in front of them, seeking their forgiveness. . . . In the name of the family, that's what I say."

All of us will remember images from this horror. The innocent boy standing on the rail in his final moments. The unassuming suspect casually dropping the backpack nearby. The explosions. The blood-spattered ground. The surveillance video. The manhunt. We'll gossip and argue about countries, religions and cultures. But don't forget the uncle. Don't forget his plea - even as he begged for forgiveness for his family, even as he lamented the stain on his nationality and his faith - that no religion, no country, and no people can be blamed for such an atrocity. Any of us could be this man, the innocent man who could not shake his shame.

by on Apr. 20, 2013 at 4:03 AM
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Replies (1-10):
celticdragon77
by on Apr. 20, 2013 at 5:13 AM

Last paragraph is well written.

JustCJ
by on Apr. 20, 2013 at 7:59 AM
1 mom liked this

<3

survivorinohio
by Rene on Apr. 20, 2013 at 1:28 PM
1 mom liked this

I felt so bad for him when I saw him speak yesterday. 

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 2:57 PM
1 mom liked this

Most family members in a case like this would refrain from comment - maybe release a written statement only.

What I was so impressed about here was this man's statement as a human being - rejecting the murder and violence of his nephews, showing his very clear personal compassion for their victims, demonstrating his personal and familial grief and shame, and his conviction that they very well could have had a great life in the US.

Usually we can guess but don't really know the feelings of the family: Do they excuse their family members' actions? Are they more concerned about the upcoming court case than the victims?

There is no doubt at all in this case.

And the uncle came out of his house, spoke off the top of his head to dozens of reporters for 9 minutes, and actually had to be cut off by law enforcement.

Does that mean every family member of every terrorist suspect should do the same? No, not saying that. But it sure does humanize this particular family member - who has no conspiracy theories, doesn't blame the US government for the course of events, admits someone "radicalized" them, but does not defend them, and says it was their choice to engage in terrorism, and not to live a good life in the US. 

Allegedly, allegedly, allegedly.


Quoting survivorinohio:

I felt so bad for him when I saw him speak yesterday. 



gludwig2000
by Gina on Apr. 20, 2013 at 5:09 PM
1 mom liked this
In the end, Tsarni raised his hands and asked to say one more thing: "Those who suffered, we're sharing with them, with their grief - and ready just to meet with them, and ready just to bend in front of them, to kneel in front of them, seeking their forgiveness. . . . In the name of the family, that's what I say." This touched me, and I hope that it touches others and helps them remember who was responsible for the bombs, and who is attached because of family.
SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 5:36 PM

That part touched me too.

The way I read it, he wants to - literally, metaphorically? - comfort the victims and beg forgiveness  for what his nephews did to the victims and their families. HE doesn't need forgiveness for this, but he feels it's what is right to do for his new people here in America. That is heartbreaking.

I wish all American citizens took crime this seriously in the US.

Quoting gludwig2000:

In the end, Tsarni raised his hands and asked to say one more thing: "Those who suffered, we're sharing with them, with their grief - and ready just to meet with them, and ready just to bend in front of them, to kneel in front of them, seeking their forgiveness. . . . In the name of the family, that's what I say." This touched me, and I hope that it touches others and helps them remember who was responsible for the bombs, and who is attached because of family.



SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 6:40 PM

BUMP!

gludwig2000
by Gina on Apr. 20, 2013 at 7:21 PM
1 mom liked this
I think that it would be natural for any of us to feel horror knowing that someone in our family could do something like this.
Quoting SallyMJ:

That part touched me too.

The way I read it, he wants to - literally, metaphorically? - comfort the victims and beg forgiveness  for what his nephews did to the victims and their families. HE doesn't need forgiveness for this, but he feels it's what is right to do for his new people here in America. That is heartbreaking.

I wish all American citizens took crime this seriously in the US.

Quoting gludwig2000:

In the end, Tsarni raised his hands and asked to say one more thing: "Those who suffered, we're sharing with them, with their grief - and ready just to meet with them, and ready just to bend in front of them, to kneel in front of them, seeking their forgiveness. . . . In the name of the family, that's what I say." This touched me, and I hope that it touches others and helps them remember who was responsible for the bombs, and who is attached because of family.



SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 8:55 PM

The fact that he is so vulnerable about his shame, and open about his passion about the victims, his family, America, is very poignant.

Quoting gludwig2000:

I think that it would be natural for any of us to feel horror knowing that someone in our family could do something like this.
Quoting SallyMJ:

That part touched me too.

The way I read it, he wants to - literally, metaphorically? - comfort the victims and beg forgiveness  for what his nephews did to the victims and their families. HE doesn't need forgiveness for this, but he feels it's what is right to do for his new people here in America. That is heartbreaking.

I wish all American citizens took crime this seriously in the US.

Quoting gludwig2000:

In the end, Tsarni raised his hands and asked to say one more thing: "Those who suffered, we're sharing with them, with their grief - and ready just to meet with them, and ready just to bend in front of them, to kneel in front of them, seeking their forgiveness. . . . In the name of the family, that's what I say." This touched me, and I hope that it touches others and helps them remember who was responsible for the bombs, and who is attached because of family.





gludwig2000
by Gina on Apr. 20, 2013 at 9:08 PM
1 mom liked this
Very true, and his words were very touching.
Quoting SallyMJ:

The fact that he is so vulnerable about his shame, and open about his passion about the victims, his family, America, is very poignant.

Quoting gludwig2000:

I think that it would be natural for any of us to feel horror knowing that someone in our family could do something like this.
Quoting SallyMJ:

That part touched me too.

The way I read it, he wants to - literally, metaphorically? - comfort the victims and beg forgiveness  for what his nephews did to the victims and their families. HE doesn't need forgiveness for this, but he feels it's what is right to do for his new people here in America. That is heartbreaking.

I wish all American citizens took crime this seriously in the US.

Quoting gludwig2000:

In the end, Tsarni raised his hands and asked to say one more thing: "Those who suffered, we're sharing with them, with their grief - and ready just to meet with them, and ready just to bend in front of them, to kneel in front of them, seeking their forgiveness. . . . In the name of the family, that's what I say." This touched me, and I hope that it touches others and helps them remember who was responsible for the bombs, and who is attached because of family.





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