I could’ve been there — I could’ve been at the marathon, cheering on friends and strangers as they crossed the finish line. I could’ve been there, marveling at the resilience of the human spirit, celebrating the strength and determination and passion that the sport of running demands. Marathons represent some of the most incredible things about humans — hard work, dedication, the ability to go on when things get really hard. The bombing destroyed a day of celebration and excitement, of positivity and patriotism as well. I could’ve been there, and the victims could’ve been people I knew. Perhaps that’s what made it so chilling. This was a bombing in our backyard, not far away, affecting our communities, not ‘them.’
In the wake of the disaster, what has been most heartening has been the reaction of this community — my new home, in Boston. People created a spreadsheet to offer up beds at their houses for marathoners who were stranded, and perhaps most inspiring — some marathon runners kept running after the finish line and went straight to the hospital to donate blood. I admire the first responders, the people who took time and money to help others in a time of need.
My heart goes out to all those affected, and I mourn those who were killed or are in critical condition at the hospital. Attacks like this should never happen, and I only hope there will be no stereotyping, no backlash against minority groups as a consequence.
And the reaction that I loved most, perhaps, was this photo project by a filmmaker/photographer in Kabul: To Boston, From Kabul, With Love. It really represents the best of humanity — it shows compassion from people for whom these kinds of attacks are a sad daily reality. It reminds us how connected we all are, how much others can care about us in the U.S. despite the hardships they have encountered. I only hope that we send them the same love, back.