Fascinating insights into the bomber brothers
David Remnick of The New Yorker OFFERS more than you previously knew about the Tsarniev brothers and their ties to the Chechen cause:
In the midst of the Second World War, Joseph Stalin, seized by one of his historic fits of paranoia and cruelty, declared the Chechen people disloyal to the U.S.S.R. and banished them from their homeland in the northern Caucasus to Central Asia and the Siberian wastes. Tens of thousands of Chechens, along with members of other small ethnic groups from the Caucasus and the Crimean Peninsula, died in the mass deportation or soon after—some from cold, some from starvation. The Tsarnaev family eventually settled in a town called Tokmok, in Kyrgyzstan, not far from the capital, Bishkek.
Anzor Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen who lived much of his life in Kyrgyzstan, emigrated a decade ago to the Boston area with his wife, two daughters, and two sons. Despite arthritic fingers, he made his living as an auto mechanic. Members of the family occasionally attended a mosque on Prospect Street in Cambridge, but there seemed nothing fundamentalist about their outlook.
Anzor’s elder son, Tamerlan, appeared never to connect fully with American life. “I don’t have a single American friend,” Tamerlan told a photographer, “….“I don’t understand them.”
Dzhokhar, nineteen, had graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where he was a locally celebrated wrestler, described as slight, agile, and a little shy…He worked for a couple of years as a lifeguard at a pool on the Harvard campus. A fellow-lifeguard remembered him as a “nice” kid with a “good sense of humor.” Dzhokhar’s high-school friends remembered him fondly, too. “He was a cool guy,” Ashraful Rahman said.
The sense of bland unknowingness—“He seemed so nice!”—began to evaporate the closer we got to the Tsarnaev brothers. Tamerlan’s YouTube channel features a series of videos in support of fundamentalism and violent jihad…
Dzhokhar’s Twitter feed…is a bewildering combination of banality and disaffection…As you scan it, you encounter a young man’s thoughts: his jokes, his resentments, his prejudices, his faith, his desires.