Don't Let Them Turn Tragedy Into Racism
Resisting U.S. Empire in the Age of Obama

Don't Let Them Turn Tragedy Into Racism: Resisting U.S. Empire in the Age of Obama

A forum featuring Richard Seymour and Khury Petersen-Smith

The horrific images of the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15 shocked everyone. The brutal attack has left 3 dead and 127 people injured. In the face of these attacks, though, we have seen images of hundreds of ordinary people, doctors, nurses and other caregivers rush into action to help strangers in need--all signs of our city pulling together after an act of unspeakable horror.

After 9/11, racist and anti-Muslim attacks skyrocketed - both by individuals, and by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Similarly, after Monday's attacks, the police raided the house of Boston students of Saudi descent, detained an Arab witness to and victim of the crime, and grounded two planes with Arabic-speaking passengers aboard. We can't let them turn our grief into hatred or racist 'community' surveillance.

More than 10 years after 9/11 and the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, President Obama has continued Bush's 'War on Terror' by increasing wars abroad and repressing civil liberties at home. It is in this context that the notion of terrorism has been deeply racialized. What will it take to stop tragedy from turning into racism?


One of Britain's leading young radical intellectuals, RICHARD SEYMOUR is the principal contributor to Lenin's Tomb (, one of the UK's most popular blogs. A regular columnist for the Guardian, Seymour is also the author of four books, most recently "American Insurgents: A Brief History of American Anti-Imperialism" (Haymarket 2012) and "Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens" (Verso 2013). He is a founding member of the International Socialist Network.


A long-time anti-imperialist activist, KHURY PETERSEN-SMITH traveled to Iraq in 2004 and the Gaza Strip in 2009 with international solidarity delegations. His academic research focuses on the geography of the US military.

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