Boston suspect chase sparks reaction from students

The+flag+waves+at+half+staff.+Photo+by+Jacqueline+LeBlanc

The flag waves at half staff. Photo by Jacqueline LeBlanc

Maria Kalaitzandonakes


[tabgroup][tab title=”Consuming Media”] [heading style=”1″]RBHS community seeks information on Boston bombing[/heading]

s
Signs all over Boston showed solidarity and remembrance of the lives lost in the Boston Marathon. Photo by Nomin-Erdene Jagdagdorj
One RBHS student’s parents were participating in the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, when two explosions were set off near the end of the race. The bombs killed three and injured over a hundred, according to CNN.com. Two suspects, one dead and one on the run, have caused the city of Boston to shut down. No public transportation is open, most stores are closed and citizens are advised to stay in their homes.
Junior Rachel Doisy, whose parents were in Massachusetts, was unaware of the catastrophe until another student in school pulled her out of class and relayed the scary news. Her parents were both safe, but Doisy was more than a little shaken.
“It was scary, but she’s OK, so I wasn’t too worried,” Doisy said. “When I heard the news first I knew that my mom was safe, but I was worried for all the other marathoners. … My mom just said she’s glad she’s alive and that she has all her limbs.”
The effects, though, were not just on those with loved ones in the race. The still-living suspect, recently identified by the FBI as Dzhokar Tsarnaev, has been confirmed by his uncle to be a Muslim from Chechnya, according to CNN.com.
This revelation added a whole new worry to RBHS students’ minds. English Language Learner teacher Peggy White sent an email to guidance counselors and administrative figures asking them to be mindful of RBHS Muslim students worried about the implications of the killer’s religious beliefs.
A student approached her this morning in distress, overwhelmed after finding out the killer was Muslim, worrying that her hijab would mark her for ridicule and hate. White attempted to soothe the student and reminded her that RBHS was a safe school, and no one would be angry with her.
“Really, there was just one [student] upset before school, and that was the end of it. So I didn’t see anything else or hear anybody else being distraught,” White said. “I had the [live-stream of the] news going, and they’re not even that interested.”
Guidance Counselor Amelia Fagiolo said although no one has come up to them today for support, their doors are always open. She feels it is important to be over-prepared, rather than under-prepared, and she hopes that if there were to be any issues, students would approach the counselors immediately.
“People jump to conclusions and that can sometimes cause a backlash,” Fagiolo said. “I imagine there are lots of kids that are upset about what happened, and there are people forming opinions about kids here that are false based on inaccurate information or accurate information. You know even if those guys are Muslim, it doesn’t mean we’re going to be targeting Muslim students here. I mean [that’s] ridiculous.”
Senior Trey Leuenberger followed the updates of the police chase throughout the day. He said it hit home because he has many family members who have run marathons in the past. He believes though that the killings will not have much of a local impact.
“I don’t know if there will be anything locally,” Leuenberger said, “but I’m sure they will try to pass regulation for bombs and firearms nationally.”
The Media Center was full of students such as Leuenberger and senior Natalie Heim, who watched the live-stream of CNN’s updates or the police ticker published on Reddit.com. Heim said she’s been following the updates since the incident happened. Heim worries that the incident will push locals to be more on edge, especially in regards to sporting events.
“I think it will kind of be like 9/11 when we’re just taking more precautions, which will kind of be a little frustrating because taking precautions creates a lot of problems for people,” Heim said. “But I think they are going to have to take more precautions in sporting events since this happened at a marathon. They’re going to have to do more bag checks, and I know that there’s some people running 5Ks, and they just got emails that said, ‘Don’t bring any bags, because we’re going to have to check them, and we don’t want to have to do that.'”
Students and teachers alike simply hope for the safety of the runners and all the citizens of Boston.
“My heart goes out to people in Boston,” sophomore Emily Magruder said. “It’s an unimaginable tragedy, but I believe that our nation can get through it.”
By Ashleigh Atasoy, Maria Kalaitzandonakes, Afsah Khan and Jacqueline LeBlanc
Please press ‘TOP’ then select ‘History of Chechen Conflict’ to proceed to the next part of the story. [divider top=”1″][/tab] [tab title=”History of Chechen Conflict”] [heading style=”1″]Russo/Chechen history may have connection to Boston bombing[/heading] [wpgmza id=”2″] According to the Council of Foreign Relations, the Chechens are a largely Muslim ethnic minority who generally live in the North Caucasus region of Russia. Relations between Russia and its Chechen province have always been turbulent, especially during WWII, when the leader at that time, Joseph Stalin, accused the Chechens of collaborating with Nazi invaders. He deported the entire Chechen population to Siberia and Kazakhstan, and they weren’t allowed to return until his successor, Nikita Khrushchev came to power.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Chechen separatists launched an independence movement which resulted in two wars and an ongoing insurgency in the region. From 1994 t0 1996, Russia and Chechen guerillas fought in what later became known as the First Chechen War. There were severe causalities, but Russia did not win control of the region, granting Chechnya de facto independence. In 1996, Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a peace treaty with the separatists.
In August 1999, however, the Chechens invaded Russia in order to support a local separatist movement, and the following month, five bombs exploded in Russia over the course of 10 days, killing over 300 civilians. Russia blamed the Chechens for the attack and the retaliation resulted in the Second Chechen War.
Since 2008, however, the violence in the North Caucasus region has significantly increased, according to a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Incidences of violence and suicide bombings sky-rocketed, the majority of which occurred in Chechnya.
There are several terrorist groups associated with Chechnya. According to the U.S. State Department, the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade is the primary funder for Chechen separatists, who also have some ties to al-Qaida-related financiers. The United States also defined the Special Purpose Islamic Regiment and the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs as terrorist organizations.
Though there is no certain motive for the attack on Boston by the two Chechens, there is much speculation that it relates to the Chechen-Russian conflict. A specialist on the NPR Morning Edition on April 19 speculated that the attack was retaliation for the lack of U.S. involvement in the Chechen independence movement. The FBI continues to gather evidence.
By Trisha Chaudhary
Please press ‘TOP’ then select ‘RBHS Reacts’ to proceed to the next part of the story. [divider top=”1″][/tab][tab title=”RBHS reacts”] [heading style=”1″]Reactions vary to Boston tragedy[/heading]
Mr. Maus
Mr. Mark Maus, principal
Mark Maus, principal
“I would say, first of all, I hope and would certainly not think that anyone would treat our Muslim students any different. I would say that that goes for what I’ve seen in the community of Columbia, 99% true. Do I think someone or a small, small group of people might say something? That could happen. I find that when things like that are said, they are said out of ignorance, rather than some sort of — to me, it’s ignorance and not knowing, not being informed. [That] is why those things are said. Do I think it could happen? Yes. Do I think the majority of the students would say anything or think twice about it? No.”
 
Muhamed Khenissi
Muhamed Khenissi, senior
Muhamed Khenissi, senior
“I think with what happened this time, well of course, a lot of people will think that Muslims did it, but like, they’re not as quick to point a finger this time around, and I think that people will understand that it was way out of the blue and doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t apply to all Muslims. And the fact that these guys are youngsters, and they’re from like Russia — I don’t know, the stigma of Arabs doing it is gone a little bit.”
“I don’t know, I like to think people have a good opinion of me, but who knows? Maybe a ton of people have a bad opinion of me.”
“I don’t think the aftereffects will be that bad [compared to 9/11] [be]cause … it’s sad to see so many people have forgotten about it, and the target wasn’t as big, and I don’t know. I guess after 9/11, you can’t ever be shocked again.”
 
Noor Khreis
Noor Khreis, senior
Noor Khreis, senior
“It does bother me that people think that the guy who did the bombing was Muslim, because the media is saying an assumption, an assumption that is probably going to stay in people’s brains for a long time. So by doing that, they are enforcing an idea of stereotyping Islam in general and Muslims in general. It makes people judge you in a way you shouldn’t be judged. You don’t know me, what makes you think I’m a terrorist? I don’t like it, because it’s not fair to those who know what true Islam is about. If you’re Muslim, then you know how to be a real Muslim. You know real Muslims wouldn’t do something like that.”
“I feel like 9/11 was definitely much more of a problem than this because during 9/11, a lot of people died. But I do think the Boston bombings will be a problem, and I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few people got PTSD from this, depending on how close they were to the bomb, but I don’t think it will be the exact same situation as 9/11.”
“People who don’t know a lot about Islam usually will fall into that stereotyping and will think, ‘Oh, she’s Muslim; she must be a terrorist.’ I mean, I’ve been called a terrorist three times at Rock Bridge. I think the best thing we can do is just educate people and tell them what real, true Islam is. Other than that, I think that people are always going to treat us differently, and I really think that will always be the case. I think there’s not much you can do about it other than educating people.”
 
Saja Necibi
Saja Necibi, sophomore
Saja Necibi, sophomore
“I feel like here at Rock Bridge, people will talk about it, and they’ll talk about that common stereotype and how all of a sudden terrorists are Muslim. But I feel like, yeah, they will talk about it, and it will kind of hurt, but I use it as a good to opportunity to tell people, ‘Hey, it’s a stereotype, and that’s not what my religion Islam is really about.’”
“I feel like 9/11 was pretty drastic. I feel like we can’t change as much as we did before 9/11 to after it, as we can now. I feel like now we’ll probably have more beefed-up security, but I don’t think it will be as drastic as the after-effects of 9/11.”
“I don’t think I’m going to get directly talked to about it, but I feel like people are going to speak up about it in class knowing that I’m there. So I don’t think it’s going to be like, ‘Oh, you Saja, you’re bad.’ I think they’re going to try and say it about my religion, and I will try to negate that and say, ‘Hey, that’s not what my religion is really about.”
Sumidha Katti
Sumidha Katti, senior
Sumidha Katti, senior
“Well, I didn’t speculate anything, like, I didn’t know what was going on, and I honestly didn’t immediately jump to, ‘It must have been a Muslim person,’ but I mean since I’m also brown, I feel like because of that, I don’t immediately jump to those conclusions, and I know Muslim people, and it’s not like Muslim equals terrorist. So for me, it doesn’t really make too much of a difference.”
“I feel like our society is kind of like desensitized to it, which is a bad thing in some cases and a good thing in other cases. I don’t think it’s gonna be as bad as 9/11, but I mean security is definitely, like, especially at airports, [it] is going to be heightened and things like that. I feel like this is kind of sad, but people have kind of forgotten already. It didn’t make too much of an impact as 9/11, but I don’t think that’s a good thing. I think people should cover it a little more.”
Photos by Paige Kiehl
Quotes by Manal Salim
[/tab][/tabgroup]