What the papers say | Marathon bombings

The Copenhagen Post’s review of what the Danish newspaper editorials had to say about Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings

The fight against extremism must unite us

What was supposed to be a day of celebration in Boston turned into a nightmare when two bombs exploded in the crowd at the finish line of the city’s annual marathon, leaving three dead and more than 150 injured.

The city and its inhabitants are now in mourning. For the rest of the world, it is yet another stark reminder of our own vulnerability and the new reality we all have learned to live with. We can listen to extremists and monitor potential terrorist targets, but when a madman or terrorist organisation places a bomb in a large crowd of spectators, we are defenceless. The vulnerability is the price of freedom.

It is still not clear who is behind this attack, and neither al-Qaeda, right-wing extremists nor other terrorist organisations have been ruled out by President Barack Obama or Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick.

But regardless of the motives behind the attack, a tragedy has occurred. The Boston Marathon is supposed to be an event in which people of all imaginable colours, nationalities and political beliefs run side by side, but instead this event was marred by this cruel and unforgettable attack.

It is the cynicism, brutality and extremism that unite them. And it is the fight against extremism, in all its heinous forms, that must unite us even though we might have very deep political and religious differences.

Bombs in Boston

Although neither the motive for the bombing of the Boston Marathon nor the perpetrators have been identified, the US authorities are treating it as terrorism. US President Barack Obama has wisely warned against drawing hasty conclusions before the full facts are in place. The president has resolutely assured the American people that the guilty will be found and justice will be done, however the damage of this cowardly act has unfortunately already happened.

Besides the initial three dead, including a child, and more than one hundred and fifty wounded among the runners and spectators in and around the finish area in Boston, there is yet again an increasing fear that is intensifying and certainly even spreading beyond America’s borders. This is despite major national anti-terrorism packages and tightened surveillance securities being in place – across the globe. 

It is more than 11 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, which resulted in tougher security measures being implemented. The discussion of whether the time had come to ease some of these preventative terror measures has of course come to a halt. 

Compared with the previous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and later in Bali, Madrid and London, the number of victims this time is limited, although the pain of the bereaved relatives, of the wounded and the severely injured is the same, unreasonable and unbearable. 

In reality it does not matter: the bombing during Monday's marathon shows that extremists still exist in our society and they have the will and the weapons to terrorise our freedom-oriented way of life. Of course, we must be alert and vigilant and still take the necessary precautions, but we must not tremble or be afraid.

Boston defies terror

Outsiders might have found it unbelievable to see civilians running towards rather than away from the place where the first bomb exploded near the finishing line on Monday afternoon. How dare they put their lives at risk to save the victims of the explosion? How brave you can be? What drugs are these people on?

The answer is: Boston is a very special city – a close knit community where there is a tradition of giving as good as you get. It is a city that values  freedom and collective responsibility. Boston is the place where Americans in colonial times rebelled against British rule, so those who believe that that fighting spirit has been dampened are wrong.

The two explosions in Boston are the first successful terrorist attacks against civilians in 12 years. The people of Boston are determined not to feel threatened or bullied by these attacks. Instead they are more determined to stand up to these anonymous threats. The day after the attacks the police and the National Guard were actively checking bags on the streets of Boston – not because they expected to find bombs, but because they wanted to make people feel safe.

The important thing was the American people’s reaction. There was no hysteria like in 2001. There were no desperate actions, everything was calm and orderly. It was very much President Barack Obama’s style.





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