As the FBI sorts through the wreckage of the Boston Marathon bombing, the foreign press is providing some context to the tragedy. Here are three thought-provoking perspectives about the bombing from outside the U.S.
Chinese victim identified
The third fatality from the bombing has been identified as a Boston University student from China. As the South China Morning Post reports, the young woman’s name has been confirmed as Lu Lingzi from the city of Shenyang in Liaoning province.
After the youngest victim was identified as eight-year-old Martin Richards, candle-lit vigils were held in his Dorchester, Massachusetts neighborhood. A similar tribute has been made for Lingzi, whose profile on Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) has been flooded with thousands of messages.
“Not all disasters are created equal”
Simon Allison of South Africa’s Daily Maverick asks a tough question: When bombings worse than the one in Boston take place regularly all over the world, why is Boston the leading global story? To be clear, he does not ask the question cynically, but with an honest curiosity, and backs it up with a few clear points about what is driving this story home across the globe: the shocking images from a well-known country, and a violated sense of security in the developed world. If this can happen in Boston (as opposed to Mogadishu) then why not Cape Town?
“A bombing is a bombing, a tragedy is a tragedy, a death is a death,” writes Allison. “But, as the coincidence of the Boston and Iraq bombings occurring on the same day tells us, not all disasters are created equal.”
Eyewitness memories are fading fast
Writing for Australia’s The Conversation, Georgina Heydon warns that eyewitness memories of the horrible attack are already fading, thanks to the unreliable nature of human memory. While people have a clear memory of the explosion and moments after, Heydon writes that the critical information will come from the hours before the explosion, “dredged up from several hours-worth of mundane memories of standing, waiting, watching – or running, exhausted – at the end of yet another marathon.”
Heydon points to an interviewing technique from the UK that involves investigators handing out a form to witnesses immediately after an incident, before their memory is tainted by the news or leading questions. The technique will likely be ready for the London Marathon, but not in Boston.