Monday, April 22, 2013

The Wisdom of Uncle Ruslan

Until the live capture of the second alleged Boston Marathon bomber Friday night, it appeared the "best" thing to come out of that day's news cycle was going to be the impromptu press conference held by the suspects' uncle Ruslan Tsarni.  "Uncle Ruslan"--as he came to be known on social media--captured the hearts and minds of millions of Americans with his brutal honesty and refreshing candor in answering questions about his nephews.

When asked what caused the brothers to pull off a terrorist attack his answer was simple: "BEING LOSERS!!"  Not, "Oh, they were bullied as kids" or "They felt persecuted for their Muslim faith" or "They were frustrated by the growing income disparity in the US".  For Uncle Ruslan, his nephews were meatheads who made their own decisions to follow a path of radicalism and violence.

When asked what advice he had for his surviving nephew Uncle Ruslan advised him to "BEG FOR FORGIVENESS FROM THE REAL VICTIMS!!"  This stands in sharp contrast to the responses of the suspects' aunt who lives in Canada--who swore up and down that the "boys" could not have done this and that the FBI had no proof (apparently the use of similar devices during the Friday morning police chase and the cache of weapons and bomb-making materials wasn't enough for the self-described lawyer) and that somehow her nephews were the "victims" of a giant government conspiracy.

And doesn't the use of the word "shame" (on a family and a culture) strike a refreshing tone?  I know we are not an "honor-based" society here in the US (thus the lack of bloody family feuds and honor killings you see in other cultures)--but it's a concept that perhaps people like the Kardashians, the Jacksons, and the cast of Jersey Shore might want to consider.

And finally, Uncle Ruslan was asked what he thought about the US himself--and the answer was exactly like that of so many of our immigrant forefathers: America is still a land of opportunity for those willing to work hard and follow the rules.  And I'm guessing that Uncle Ruslan has a lot to appreciate.  He likely knows abject poverty--not the "I can't afford premium cable channels for my Hi-Def TV AND unlimited text and data for my smartphone" "poverty" that we hear about all the time here in the US.  And he understands real political oppression--not "I now have to pay 12% of my health care insurance premiums at my public sector job" or "Women will now have to drive 50-miles to the nearest abortion clinic" complaints that pass as "oppression" here in the US.

While certainly not as tragic as what happened all of last week in the Boston area, it's still sad that it takes a televised rant by a middle-aged immigrant unwillingly thrust into the national spotlight to remind us that the United States is the greatest country on Earth--even if everybody doesn't have taxpayer funded health care.

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