April 20, 2013 | Ronda Jambe

Bombs of our Fathers

As I write this, the second suspect has been taken into custody. Obama says they will learn why. Not that any explanation can possibly make sense or be forgiven. If intolerance of murder and mayhem makes ME a barbarian, then someone has their sense of irony tangled up in the knot of blind justice.

The second face, so young, is beyond comprehension as a brutal bomber.

How far back do these young men’s grudges go? What sequence of  personal, historical or national events can lead to a conclusion that killing more innocents is the way forward in another country, especially one that is so bountiful and generous as the United States?

None of the many gripes I have with the US change the fact that it is generally a good, open safe, comfortable place to live. Particularly when you consider most other places, such as the birthland of these young terrorists. Migrants go to countries like Australia and the US because there are opportunities, and, cliche though it may be, great freedom.

We join Americans today with relief and pride for the brilliant way in which the situation in Boston has been resolved.The involvement of the public to provide information and the use of electronic media also affirmed positive values.

Sadly, a policeman lost his life and another was wounded as the drama unfolded. We share their grief for the dead and wish the very best recovery for the survivors. That is a normal human response, the opposite end of the human spectrum from wilfully hurting strangers.

It is normal also to feel more strongly about people more similar to ourselves: we like marathons, the party atmosphere, the sense of shared interest and support. The Bostonians don’t come from a dark, lawless place.

Of all the achievements of modern democracies, widespread public safety (within limits) is surely one of the proudest.

Chechna and its neighbor Russia have a long, sad, violent history. The rule of law is weak, corruption and state violence is widespread, normalised.

Surely the only rational position for any individual or group or religion is to oppose violence in any and all forms. And for all leaders of any kind to reiterate that message loudly and endlessly.

If I were ever inclined to join a religion, total renunciation of violence would have to be a key tenet of their catechism.  Surely that message is more important than telling people they have to spin around, bow down, eat prettily or wear silly hats. How unthinkingly I used to sing ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ in Sunday school. I’m reading about the repression of the Counter-Reformation and its Inquisition in a book about Caravaggio – a violent man in a violent time. How do Buddhists reconcile their creed with their actions when they take up arms in Myanmar?

Next week we will have Anzac Day, a good time to reflect on this whole horrible week. It is also when I feel an annual flare of anger against those who drew so many young men into war and death. Who can look at the handsome portraits from the last century in the War Memorial without crying?

And does Australia make and export equipment for political killing? Shouldn’t we be backing away from such industries?

Carl von Clausewitz said war is politics by other means. Consider: could a different Iraq have unfolded, if instead of troops a fraction of the expense had gone to undermining Hussein’s regime and supporting civil society instead? Even cyber warfare would be better – the electronic equivalent of pamphlet blanketing perhaps?




Posted by Ronda Jambe at 5:34 pm | Comments (19) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. At the same time how many innocent women and children did Obama have killed with drone strikes???

    Comment by philip — April 20, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

  2. for sure, they shouldn’t be there in the first place

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — April 21, 2013 @ 7:56 am

  3. Ronda – You show your ignorance with your reply Quote “they shouldn’t be there in the first place” America drops a drone on a foreign country on people who have not been proven to have done anything wrong in a court of law. Effectively Obama has set himself up as JUDGE, JURY & PROSECUTOR, without any defense lawyer.

    By your ignorant reply you say the women and children should not have been in there own country, by your reasoning that would also mean the people should not have been in the area where the bombs went off in Boston getting hurt was there own fault.

    Comment by philip — April 21, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

  4. You totally misread me, and I can see that was badly worded. I meant the Americans shouldn’t have been there in the first place, not the civilians.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — April 21, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

  5. Okay mistake understood – What happened in Boston was a tragedy and should not have happened.

    But the amount of media attention world wide was to me hypocritical when many more innocent people are killed by US drones and other ways and it hardly rates a mention.

    Comment by philip — April 21, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

  6. yes, that has been a metric in the media for many decades, we overlook ‘the other’.

    Several million have died in the Congo in the past decade, and yet that just gets mostly ignored.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — April 21, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

  7. well written Ronda. I find it impossible to understand how Chechens who have grievances against Russia can metamorphose that grievance into an act of terror against the US.

    Comment by barney — April 22, 2013 @ 10:49 am

  8. Dear Ronda,

    I’ve enjoyed reading your piece.

    Thank you.

    Comment by csteele — April 22, 2013 @ 10:59 am

  9. If you don’t understand the difference between intended target and unintended casualties, you are not going to understand anything.

    Comment by Jirka — April 24, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

  10. not following you, Jirka.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — April 24, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

  11. I am sorry Ronda. My fault. I wasn’t commenting on your interesting article. I was addressing those comments that compare the US drone attacks, which don’t intend to kill any bystanders, with the Boston bombing in which the innocent bystanders were the intended target.

    Comment by Jirka — April 25, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

  12. First we hear on the news that a Saudi was arrested.Then everyone put their photos on the net and a change of story.

    The two Chechen brothers had a history of contact with the FBI and CIA.Hey the USA was financing the Chechen rebels against their Russian enemy!Whose story would you trust?

    They had snipers and sniffer dogs at the start and finish of this race and could not stop terrorism.

    How can Obama’s NDAA,Preventative Dentention,legalised assasination of suspected terrorisst signing orders protect anyone? They take away basic human rights of presumption of innocence and the right of trial by peers.

    What planet do we all now live on?

    Comment by Ross — April 28, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

  13. That is a very good question, Ross. What planet do you live on?

    Comment by Jirka — April 30, 2013 @ 10:49 pm

  14. Jirka,Would you care to address just one of Obama’s signing orders that trashes their constitution?

    Ad Hominem is the refuge of cowards.

    Comment by Ross — May 2, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

  15. Ross.
    I haven’t found any mention of “Obama signing orders” in the article we are discussing. You also didn’t indicate who’s constitution they might trash. And what Ad Hominem are you talking about? I am discussing the issue. Not you. Who is the intended target does make fundamental moral difference.


    Comment by Jirka — May 3, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

  16. Just for the record. I oppose the war in Afghanistan and use of drone assassinations. But that’s beside the point in discussion about targets.

    Comment by Jirka — May 3, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

  17. Hard to escape the conclusion that violence begets more violence. I would shut down the global arms industry (I have a Stalinist streak when it comes to thwarting war) and force the world to turn its attentions to solving the problems that lead to conflict in the first place.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — May 10, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

  18. Ronda,
    That violence begets violence is partially true, but it is simplistic, Often violence is the only way to stop violence. You don’t have a Stalinist streak when it comes to thwarting war. Stalin cranked up his arms industry and met violence with violence. If he didn’t, the world would be very different today.

    Comment by Jirka — May 14, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

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