A popular magazine in the United States by the name of Rolling Stone has courted controversy by placing a glamorous image of Dzokhar Tsarnaev on the cover page of its latest issue which will hit the stores on August 3rd. Dzokhar Tsarnaev happens to be an accused in the Boston Marathon Bombings which took place on April 15th this year and led to the death of 3 people besides injuring 264. Dzokhar carried out the entire attack in complicity with his elder brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev. While Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in the shootout which occurred between the brothers and Boston police, Dzokhar was arrested in an injured state and has been charged with several offences pertaining to terrorism. The attack carried out by the brothers was in retaliation to what the brothers considered to be an unjust and hostile foreign policy of the United States towards Muslim majority countries.
Coming back to the core issue, the Rolling Stone’s latest move has attracted sharp reactions from persons based both inside and outside the United States. Some have given a call for boycotting this issue of the magazine. However, the intimidating response which the magazine has attracted appears “immature” and “shallow in perception”. There has not been a single news report which has suggested that the Rolling Stone have anywhere by means of its content tried to justify the act of terrorism and butchery carried out by Dzokhar Tsarnev. The head caption on the cover reads “The Bomber” and the text printed underneath it reads “How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.”
The subtext makes it quite evident that Rolling Stone’s cover story attempts to trace the personal journey of Dzokhar from being an everyday college going lad to a terror bomber. The allegation that the photograph used promotes terrorism or glamourizes it would be more suitable for those Facebook fan pages and groups where American girls have described Dzokhar as “cute” and have asked for him to be “pardoned”. It would also apply to Internet sympathizers of Dzokhar who actively lend support to the acts of terror carried out by the likes of Dzokhar in response to what they consider to be a “ruthless assault of America on Islam and Muslims.”
The American entertainment industry however cannot be totally absolved from the allegation of lionzing terror as was done in Sylvester Stallone starrer Rambo. The representation of Afghan Mujahideen as patriotic freedom fighters fighting against Soviet repression was done effectively and repeatedly by Hollywood as part of CIA-sponsored propaganda against communism. The world today is aware of the havoc which was caused by these mujahideen once they came to power in Afghanistan. If American human rights activists are genuinely opposing glamourization of terror then they should not only condemn several award-winning movies made in the 1980s but they should also stand in opposition to US President Barack Obama’s decision to lace Syrian rebels (associates of Al Qaeda) with weapons to fight the illegitimate regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. We need to categorically realize two things in regards to the Syrian conflict: First, the United Nations and not the United States has to take the lead in toppling the Assad regime which is guilty of fuelling a conflict which has left 93,000 people dead and second, the United States cannot aid an Al-Qaeda affiliate group when Al Qaeda itself is responsible for murdering thousands of innocents citizens across the world. Till Washington doesn’t take such a step, there is no point in misinterpreting and blowing out of proportion a story whose purpose is nothing but to bring to its readers the transformation of a boy into a terrorist.