Please note, nothing has been confirmed. This is a developing story and a very sensitive situation. The two suspects have been identified via unconfirmed scanner reports. NOTHING HAS BEEN CONFIRMED.
This is important.
So easy to get caught up in a sensational story in a situation like this, during a week like this. Please keep the above in mind.
White Out: Media Heap Suspicion On Brown People In Boston Marathon Bombing [Racist "Revenge" Attacks follow] ⇒
WASHINGTON — Hours after the Boston Marathon bombing, there was already Internet chatter that a “Saudi national” was the suspect. Police raided the apartment of Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi, a 22-year-old student from Saudi Arabia, as he was recovering from the blasts in a Boston hospital.
Next, CNN’s John King raised the alarm about a more elusive “dark-skinned male” who the TV reporter said was in custody on Wednesday.
The following day, the New York Post got more specific. It slapped pictures of two young men on its front page, calling them “Bag Men” and identifying them as persons of interest to federal authorities. One was Salah Barhoum, 17, a Moroccan American middle-distance runner.
And then there was news that a man in Bronx, N.Y., who was born in Bangladesh was beaten up for supposedly being “a f*cking Arab” by a group of men who wanted retribution for the marathon bombing.
A Palestinian woman near Boston also reported being the victim of a hateful assault on Wednesday, when a man hit her and yelled, “F*ck you Muslims! You are terrorists! I hate you! You are involved in the Boston explosions.”
What all of these people have in common is that they’re innocent of the bombing. They also happen not to be white.
For the most part, the response to the marathon bombing has brought out humanity’s better angels. Deserved attention has been shed on the heroic efforts of bystanders like Carlos Arredondo and the many first responders who rushed to help the injured.
But it has also served as a depressing reminder that the racial profiling that increased against men of Middle Eastern, Arab and South Asian descent after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks continues to infect the public response to terrorism.
It may turn out that the Boston Marathon bombers are Arab. But they could also be white, black, Native American, Asian or Hispanic. While CBS News tweeted Wednesday that a “white male” was a possible suspect, most people subjected to the speculation grinder have been non-white — all before the FBI on Thursday released photos of two racially ambiguous suspects.
The consequences have been brutal for some of the innocent people caught in the frenzy.
Alharbi had “every inch” of his apartment searched by law enforcement, with authorities seen lugging away bags of items from his home. Residents in his building called it “a startling show of force.” His roommate was questioned for five hours.
“I was scared,” the roommate, Mohammed Hassan Bada, 20, of Saudi Arabia, told the Boston Herald.
Meanwhile, Alharbi was recovering from shrapnel wounds in a hospital. News outlets later reported that he was a witness, not a suspect, and “was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
CNN’s “dark-skinned male” never materialized, as it quickly became clear that its report of an arrest was wrong. PBS journalist Gwen Ifill said she found it “disturbing” that a television network was allowed to characterize a supposed bombing suspect in such a way.
Barhoum had his world turned upside-down when he saw himself on the cover of the New York Post.
“It’s the worst feeling that I can possibly feel. … I’m only 17,” he said. His mother, meanwhile, felt “sick and upset.”
Barhoum went to the police on Wednesday to clear his name, after he noticed photos of himself getting tagged on social media. He was unable to compete in the marathon, but decided to go and watch. Federal authorities told ABC News that they were passing around his picture to find more information — as they no doubt were doing with pictures of many of the people photographed on Monday.
Later Thursday, after a public outcry over its cover image, the New York Post ran a follow-up story clarifying that authorities said the two “bag men” had “neither had any information or role in Monday’s attacks at the Boston Marathon.”
The rush for indictment and revenge has also taken a toll on Abdullah Faruque, 30, the Bronx man who was beaten up for having brown skin and looking “Arab.” He was assaulted by three or four men outside an Applebee’s on Monday, just hours after the bombing.
“One of the guys asked if I was Arab. I just shook my head, said like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ I didn’t even know that [the] Boston [bombing] happened because I had a busy day,” Faruque explained to the New York Post.
“Yeah, he’s a f*cking Arab,” responded one of the men, before the group jumped him. They dislocated his shoulder and left him semiconscious.
Heba Abolaban, who lives near Boston, was assaulted and harassed on Wednesday. Abolaban told Malden Patch that while she and her friend, who were both wearing hijabs, were walking with their children, a man came up and punched her shoulder and accused them of being involved in the Boston Marathon bombing.
“I did not say anything to him,” Abolaban said. “Not even that we aren’t terrorists. … He was so aggressive.”
… Talal Alyan, an Arab American student, launched an online campaign on Thursday demanding that the New York Post apologize for its coverage.
“We demand an apology from the New York Post for identifying a Saudi Arabian national as a suspect for the Boston Marathon bombing despite having no evidence,” read the petition, which had more than 6,600 signatures as of Thursday evening. “The New York Post based their conclusion that the wounded marathon runner was a suspect only on the fact that he was an Arab. The New York Post needs to apologize to the falsely accused and the broader Arab and Muslim community.”
Still, Barhoum was uneasy at being targeted, while others around him in the marathon crowd weren’t.
“The only thing they look at is my skin color and since I’m Moroccan, I’m kind of dark,” said Barhoum. “Last night I couldn’t sleep. Just thinking about the consequences. What are people going to say and what the result is going to be.”
Minutes before the bombs blew up in Boston, Jeff Bauman looked into the eyes of the man who tried to kill him.
Just before 3 p.m. on April 15, Bauman was waiting among the crowd for his girlfriend to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon. A man wearing a cap, sunglasses and a black jacket over a hooded sweatshirt looked at Jeff, 27, and dropped a bag at his feet, his brother, Chris Bauman, said in an interview.
Two and a half minutes later, the bag exploded, tearing Jeff’s legs apart. A picture of him in a wheelchair, bloodied and ashen, was broadcast around the world as he was rushed to Boston Medical Center. He lost both legs below the knee.
“He woke up under so much drugs, asked for a paper and pen and wrote, ‘bag, saw the guy, looked right at me,’” Chris Bauman said yesterday in an interview.
I can’t find any credible sources about the alleged intended vigilante attack (I don’t know what’s wrong with me) but it was reported twice on Current in the segment I saw. They also played a clip from whatever show Geraldo Rivera has now of a guy from “Southie,” Boston saying they were organizing gangs and that whoever set off the bombs “better hope the FBI finds him before [they] do” because they were going to hunt people down.
I made my point.
We are probably never going to (be) the most-watched network in America.-
Bob Wheelock, executive producer for the Americas for Al Jazeera English, in an interview with the Daily Beast about the new network’s strategy.
Pragmatic statement aside, Al Jazeera has said it received some 18,000 resumes for the 180 new job openings it posted following its January announcement that it was acquiring Al Gore’s Current TV and setting up shop in New York City.
Whether that proves America is ready to accept Al Jazeera amid perceptions of an anti-Western bias and concerns over Qatari influence is another question. And what kind of an impact the cable channel, which launches in July, will have on journalism in the US and how much of an American audience it draws remain to be seen.
What is known is that Al Jazeera plans to spend a lot of money on its new channel - a major plus in a country where news organizations have shuttered bureaus and laid off journalists in recent years.
Wheelock tells the Daily Beast:
“There are three [cable news networks] that do a lot of the same type of show, which is prime time, full of a lot of talking heads. You won’t see a lot of that on our channel. That is done because it is inexpensive and it is often provocative and it fills up the channel.
We are more dependent on storytelling. It costs more, but we also don’t have the same constraints about trying to turn a profit. That is an incredibly editorially liberating thing.”
Credit: Photo by KAZ Vorpal
Via Occupy Austin:
Austin Independent School District has voted 5-4 to TERMINATE ITS CONTRACT with IDEA Public Schools charter. Congratulations to Occupy AISD and its many allies for their hard work over the last year+ in saving public education at one of our most crucial east side schools.