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Not in my city: No burial for Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Posted by Anne Steele  May 10, 2013 07:15 PM

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I moved to the United States in 1995 as a 3-year-old, settling in Cambridge with my mother. This is my home; I was raised here. Cambridge welcomed me with open arms. It has given me so much and I often contemplate how best to repay my community.

Unfortunately, Cambridge, a welcoming and very multicultural city, was horribly repaid on April 15 by one of its own. I have followed the very intense debate on what to do with Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body with keen interest. From the onset, it occurred to me that it would be unthinkable and nothing short of offensive for him to be buried in the City of Cambridge, or anywhere in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for that matter.

Although Cambridge is a welcoming place, even the most welcoming of places and people have their limits. The holier-than-thou approach of some people to insist that Cambridge City Manager Robert W. Healy was out of line to strongly “urge” the Tsarnaev family not to apply for a burial permit is at best disappointing.

City Manager Healy’s top priority is the wellbeing of people of Cambridge. On April 15, three people died and more than 260 were injured including members of the Cambridge community. This included several horrifically injured people affiliated with the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, my high school—Tsarnaev’s high school.

Burying Tsarnaev in Cambridge would disturb the peace of the city, as Healy rightly put it. Furthermore, it would be an insult to the memory and families of the four people dead as a result of the terrorism he inflicted on Greater Boston. To suggest that Tsarnaev be buried in the Commonwealth would be to minimize that monstrous impact he had on us.

There is precedence for burying persons rejected for burial by a city or country. I suggest the relevant authorities look there for solutions. Cambridge is a haven for many ideas and things, but terrorism has no place here.

Samuel M. Gebru, 21, is a 2009 alumnus of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and is earning a degree in political science.

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